On Christmas Eve, 72-year-old widow Harriet Beamer falls while hanging her favorite ornament on the Christmas tree. She bets her daughter-in-law, Prudence, that her ankle isn't broken. But it is. To honor her bet, Harriet has to sell her comfortable house in Philadelphia and travel across the country to California to live with her son, Henry, and Prudence. However she's one feisty lady and decides to send Humphrey, her beloved basset hound ahead, while she makes her way there via the scenic route on public transportation. This makes for a delightful and often amusing read as we follow Harriet's adventures which range from stopping a thief in his tracks to dancing the cancan on the stage in Dodge City. We meet many marvelous characters along the way including David Prancing Elk and a snake-handling preacher
The thing that I really loved about this book is that it's about several other journeys. There's Harriet's journey to independence--all her life she has just let things happen to her, but now she's making her own choices and making things happen. She's an avid collector of shakers, so she starts by fulfilling a lifelong ambition to visit the Salt and Pepper Museum in Tennessee. As Harriet moves along and throws off her old ways, we see her discard her dresses and leather shoes for denim jeans and sneakers.
There's her journey into modern technology as she buys a Droid phone with GPS, which she calls Amelia, so she can find her way.
But the heart of the book is her spiritual journey. She yearns to feel God's pleasure in her and what she's doing again. She wants to know if she's still useful. Does God have a purpose for her or has she used up all her purpose?
This light-hearted book is an enjoyable read which will keep you turning the pages. I hope that Joyce Magnin will write a sequel.
I give this book a five star rating.
Thank you to Shelton Interactive and Zondervan for giving me an Advanced Reading Copy of "Harriet Beamer Takes the Bus" in exchange for my unbiased review.
In Harriet Beamer Takes the Bus, the title character is a widowed senior citizen who collects salt and pepper shakers and has meaningful conversations with her basset hound, Humphrey. While decorating her Christmas tree, Harriet takes a spill and breaks her ankle. The discovery that the ankle is indeed broken causes her to lose an impulsive bet with her daughter-in-law. Always one to keep her word, Harriet must now pack up her shakers, sell her house, and move from Philadelphia to Grass Valley, California. Harriet's none too happy about it, but she decides to do it on her own terms.
Harriet decides to take the bus. And not a Greyhound. Oh no. Harriet will take public transportation across the country.
The ensuing road trip is filled with discovery as Harriet sets out on the adventure of her life. She meets every kind of person you can think of, touching lives along the way. As she changes them, Harriet herself changes. She trades in her nice shoes and dresses for sneakers and jeans. She learns how to use a smart phone and a GPS. Better still, God uses her experiences to transform Harriet on the inside.
This is a lovely, gentle book. As Harriet makes her way to California on buses, trains, motorcycles, and whatever way she can, her son, Henry and wife Prudence are dealing with their own issues. Henry goes from being worried about his mom to rooting her on. As does Humphrey, who waits patiently for his owner in California, encouraging the humans around him anyway he can.
Joyce has written a much-loved series of books about Bright's Pond . In her latest novel, she continues to live up to her reputation for creating characters with heart and soul. I'd encourage anyone to pick up Harriet Beamer Takes the Bus. It's a trip worth taking!
NOTE: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.
"Harriet Beamer Takes the Bus" is an unexpected ton of fun! I enjoyed the adventureâ€”and you will, too. In fact, you may even decide you want to be just like Harriet when you grow up, but that would be the opposite of the point of the book. Harriet learns to accept herself and others just as they are.
When 72-year-old Harriet loses a bet to her daughter-in-law requiring her to move cross-country, Harriet decides to make the journey by city bus. She sells her house, ships her belongings and her dog, and hops on the first bus she sees, intending to let it take her as far as it will.
But city busses don't travel very far, so Harriet must learn how to travel from city to city, sometimes taking busses, taxi cabs, trainsâ€”and many unexpected things! She trades in her fashionable shoes for a pair of red high tops and learns to use a smart phone with its GPS. Along the way, she encourages the people who momentarily cross her path, collects memories in her journal, and sends salt & pepper shakers from each location to her new home.
I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest reviewâ€”I eagerly recommend it to you!
Widow Harriet Beamer still living in the house where she spent her married life and raised her son, awaits that son's arrival from California. Her son and his wife arrive to discover her on the floor after a fall from a ladder while putting up Christmas decorations. Harriet bets her daughter-in-law that the ankle is not broken and if it is Harriet will move to California if it is broken. After the broken ankle heals, Harriet decides to move to California, but to travel there by local public transportation as much as possible. Along the way, Harriet has many adventures, meets many new friends, and reaches some conclusions.
I loved this book. Reading about Harriet's adventures is just plain fun, and definitely reveals that elderly women have a great deal of life left to live. Harriet is a character that you want to pull out of the book to visit with, and make your new best friend. I would recommend this book for women of all ages and men who want more insight into an elderly woman's psyche.