Friday, 27 April 2012

Book Review: Harriet Beamer Takes the Bus by Joyce Magnin

Book title: Harriet Beamer Takes the Bus
Author: Joyce Magnin
Publisher: Zondervan
Date: 2012
ISBN: 978-0-310-33355-5

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.


  1. This sounds like my aunt, who at 90-something was dragged to a nursing home, kicking and screaming. She discovered God wanted her to teach Bible study there. Love "Carrying Mason" by Joyce Magnin. I'll have to try this one.

  2. Sounds absolutely delightful....I would love to read it