Adena Halpern
Simon & Schuster
Trade Paperback/269 pages
ISBN: 1-43917112-2
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". . .a virtuoso performance of comedy and drama . . "

Insightful and witty tale of the longings of age for the passions of youth.

Ellie Jerome made a wish and blew out the candles on her seventy-fifth birthday cake. It is no secret what she wanted: to be twenty-nine for one day. Twenty-four hours to be young and beautiful and unencumbered by the weight of years. When she woke up the next day, she got her wish. She was twenty-nine again.

Let the games begin.

With razor sharp wit, Adena Halpern has mined George Bernard Shaw’s claim that youth is wasted on the young and gives it a wry twist in 29. Ellie Jerome is a refreshing departure from the usual old women that inhabit novels about the great divide between experience and possibility. Ellie is a matron with classy style—and dreams. She is young at heart, vivacious and memorable, not only for her looks but for her unflinching honesty.

Without pandering to the bromidic myths of the twilight years or gilding the proverbial aging lily, Halpern creates a believable premise and sees it through in a virtuoso performance of comedy and drama that will endure.

From the first few words of 29, I was captivated by Ellie and could not put the book down until I had read it all. Her adventures were as funny as they were poignant. Halpern perfectly captured the feeling of being a youth in an old body with the desires and regrets that go with aging. There is not a single wasted moment or emotion. The secondary characters are just as essential to the story as Ellie, and just as enlightening. When I grow up, and grow older, I want to be just like Ellie.


Reviewer: J. M. Cornwell