Aging and recent widow Harriet Beamer insists she's getting along fine with her dog Humphrey in Philadelphia . until she falls for the fourth time, injuring her ankle, and causing her son and daughter-in-law to cry foul. Insisting Harriet move in with them in California, they make a bet that her ankle is broken, and she foolishly promises to move if they're right. Four x-rays later, Harriet's ankle-and her heart-are broken. She packs up, ships her huge salt and pepper collection to California, and prepares to move away from the only life she knows. The only catch? She's doing it her way. Just wait till her daughter-in-law hears Harriet will travel cross country only by public transportation and alternate means. What follows is a hilarious, heartwarming journey by train, metro bus, ferry, and motorcycle. Along the way, Harriet discovers that although her family thinks it's time for her to be put out to pasture-God has a different plan.
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Customer Reviews for Harriet Beamer Takes the Bus - eBook
Harriet Beamer Takes the Bus by Joyce Magnin is just a delightful book. Harriet has had some difficult times lately. Her husband, Max, of 28 years has died and her son, Henry and his wife Prudence (of whom she is not close) want her to move to California to life with them. Harriet and her dog are getting along fine living in the same neighborhood that she has lived for her entire married life with the support of her church and close neighbors. On this day of Henry and Prudence’s visit, Harriet falls off a chair and hurts her ankle. Prudence engages her in a bet that if her ankle is broke she will come live with them and if it is not then she will be able to stay in her home. Harriet’s ankle is broken. Harriet agrees to come but on her own rules. She will come on several local buses stopping along the way to see what she wants taking as long as she wants and she will come by herself. This book is about the cross country trip that Harriet, who has never taken long distance vacations before let alone by herself, takes. I liked this book so much better than I expected. Harriet not only sees the USA on her trip but begins to see herself and understand her son and wife’s opinion also. She finds that she is blessed in so many ways as she enjoys seeing the sights and buying salt and pepper shakers for her collection. I found this book well written and entertaining. Thank you for this book. This book was provided for this review by Zondervan.
What a perfectly delightful read! I absolutely love Harriet Beamer, and I would love to grow up to be like her some day. She is the absolutely ideal senior citizen who has decided her life is still not over. She knows that even in her golden years, God is not finished with her yet.
I was absolutely enthralled with Harriet's journey. And just when I did not think the mode of travel could get any zanier, it did! No spoilers here. If you want to know of Harriet's travel, you must read it.
I was enchanted with the way in which Harriet, Henry, and Prudence evolved over the course of the book. I did not think Prudence had any gumption, but by the end of the book, I was glad to see her spunk. And Henry and Humphrey truly bonded to the point that Humphrey became Henry's muse. I would love to have a dog like Humphrey!
I most appreciated the way in which God was woven into the fabric of the story. It was good to see Harriet's faith being so apparent in her every day dealings with each person she met. She never tried to force her beliefs on anyone. They were just a part of who she was.
In conclusion, I now want to go on a trip like this. I wish I were a retired lady with lots of money and no real responsibilities. I would go in a heartbeat.
I was provided with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not financially compensated, and all opinions are 100 percent mine.
This is the story of Harriet Beamer, a seventy-two year old widow who had been living alone in Philadelphia. After falling while decorating her Christmas tree, her daughter-in-law Prudence tricks Harriet into selling her home and moving in with her and Henry, Harriet's son.
When Harriet realizes what happened, she reluctantly keeps her promise to move, but decides to take her time making the long journey to Grass Valley, California, near Sacramento. Not only does she want to get there on her own terms, she wants to visit some places along the way. Her late husband hadn't liked to travel and so they had never made any trips. Since she was a long-time collector of salt and pepper shakers, one place she wanted to go to in particular was the Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
Harriet sells her house, says goodbye to her friends, ships her belongings to California. Her dog Humphrey, goes on ahead on the plane. Her plan was to take local buses only to make the trip more interesting and longer. But she soon learns that is not possible. Although she takes a local bus when possible, she travels in a variety of ways including a helicopter, a motorcycle sidecar, and trains. She meets many interesting people along the way, some help her and some she helps, some we can only guess, but hope Harriet has blessed them all in some way. One person, David Prancing Elk, told her about a good place to go to look at the stars. So she went there. She gained some fame along the way. A YouTube video of her stopping a thief was broadcast around the world and, at another time and place she managed to help the police catch a couple who had stolen her credit card.
When Harriet was alone on the trip, she pulled out her journal and wrote to her late husband Max and told him about her day. This gave the reader insights not possible otherwise. Along the way, alone in a hotel room or a B&B, Harriet grieved in a way she probably never did while living at home. She missed her husband in a new way. She probably grieved because of the change happening in her life as well. She had been used to talking to Humphrey and with him already in California, she had another reason to be sad. But it's mostly a fun book, not a sad one.
There are ups and downs, tears and laughter, all the way across the United States. However, there's more. It could have easily turned into a series of episodes in each town Harriet visited with no depth. But it didn't. A subplot involving Henry and Prudence gave the story deeper meaning and more interest. In addition to that, the way Harriet changes throughout the trip makes it much more than a series of short stories.
I laughed and cried and all the while kept turning pages to see what would happen next. To me, that means Harriet Beamer Takes the Bus is well worth the read.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received an advance review copy of this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Harriet Beamer Takes the Bus Read about this rambunctious 72 year old as she travels by herself cross country mainly on public transportation, heading toward her new home in Grass Valley, California. She lost a bet which started her on this journey. Harriet meets a snake handling preacher, rides in a motorcycle sidecar, dances the cancan in a saloon, and meets lots of folks, some friendly and some ornery. Her hound dog, Humphrey, is a main character. Oh, and Harriet adds to her beloved collection of salt and pepper shakers as she journeys west. If you like to smile and enjoy good writing, I think you will enjoy reading this book.
Seventy-two year old Harriet Beamer falls off a ladder. Her daughter-in-law, Prudence, makes a bet with Harriet. If the foot is broken, she must come and live with Prudence and Henry. “It was a suckers bet,” Harriet says as she plans her trip to California to join them. But she decides to take the long way by local transportation. A friendly stranger helps her find her Droid, Amelia, to plan each new course—deciding as she goes.
Henry worries as she calls to tell him about her ride on a helicopter and her adventure with the snake-handler. He can only wait as she makes her convoluted way to him. Harriett encounters good and bad people. She gains celebrity when she stops a purse-snatcher with a well-placed rolling suitcase as the incident goes viral.
The reader will smile more than laugh aloud, though the book provides a few of those. If you enjoy old people who don’t believe life ends when you reach “maturity” you will enjoy this book. It may provide a pleasant Sunday afternoon diversion.
When 72-year-old Harriet Beamer loses a bet with her daughter-in-law Prudence about whether a fall off a chair resulted in her breaking her ankle or not, she has no choice but to sell her house and move clear across the country to California. However, a sudden realization that she's always let others chart her course for her embarks her on a journey across the country - by bus, train, helicopter, or motorcycle. Along the way she meets a cast of colourful characters and gets herself into - and out of - a heap of troublesome situations. But she soon discovers that with God, anything is possible - and that God still has a plan for her to make a difference with her life.
I've enjoyed all of Joyce Magnin's books that I have read so far, including the Bright's Pond series, and love how the author creates unique characters who aren't afraid to be different and to be themselves. Harriet is a character that will long stand out in my mind, spunky and courageous, confidently using the latest technology to embark on her journey, proudly wearing her bright red shoes. I especially appreciate her love for people and her desire to spark up conversations with seemingly anyone, and see what God has in mind for that encounter. She brings to life the Biblical encouragement to "make the most of every opportunity", and whether talking to a broken-hearted fiancée who was left stranded at the alter, or single-handedly stopping a purse-snatcher, Harriet is ready to follow where the Lord leads and bless others along the way. The novel is full of vivid and fun details that make this book a joy to zip through, and I am confident that readers who have enjoyed Magnin's prior novels will greatly enjoy this entertaining and inspiring read. (I think, however, that I may hide this book from my own mother. I don't want her getting any ideas to plot her way across the country because I think I may end up being like Harriet's son, Henry, and being a bit of a fuss-budget).
I highly recommend this book and give it 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Book has been provided courtesy of the publisher, Zondervan, for the purposes of this unbiased review.
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.
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Review 10 for Harriet Beamer Takes the Bus - eBook
"Harriet Beamer Takes the Bus" is an unexpected ton of fun! I enjoyed the adventure—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, trains—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 review—I eagerly recommend it to you!
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Review 11 for Harriet Beamer Takes the Bus - eBook
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.
Received Galley from NetGalley.com
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Review 12 for Harriet Beamer Takes the Bus - eBook
What do you do when you look back at the last 72 years of your life and realize you're not getting any younger? The only time you've ever gone anywhere was to the Jersey shore on vacation. Now that she has lost a bet with her son Henry and his wife Prudence over an accident at Christmas, Harriet is forced to sell her home and move in with them. After all, it's apparent to them, you can't be left to care for yourself all alone. Yet rather than jump aboard a plane and head for Grass Valley, CA on their terms, you do what Harriet Beamer does.
You plan a road trip.
From Pennsylvania to California.
Seeing whatever it is you've wanted to see before you die taking whatever means necessary except for a plane if she can help it. Once she has secured her faithful companion, Humphrey, her Basset Hound on board a plane headed to California, she is ready to begin. And with Harriet, that begins with a bus. Not a Greyhound bus mind you but a local public bus and see how far it will take her. Unfortunately for her, it only goes as far as the University, but since she's never seen that, she takes a walk around the campus before heading off on another bus.
Harriet's goal is not only in seeing the sights she feels she has missed in her 72 years of living, but also to prove to herself and her family that she isn't as incapable in caring for herself as they think she is. The journey that the reader is invited along with Harriet is memorable, fun and often times sobering as she meets with people from all walks of life. She finds herself offering invaluable wisdom to the people she engages with, names her GPS application within her Droid phone, Amelia, and continues collecting her salt and pepper shakers as she journeys to California, one bus, one train, one memorable journey at a time.
I received Harriet Beamer Takes The Bus by Joyce Magnin compliments of Shelton Interactive and Zondervan Publishers for my honest review. I LOVED this adorable story because it relates to a situation close to my own heart where an elderly woman living alone was asked to sell her own home because they felt she couldn't care for herself and live with them. I would have loved to see her have as much gumption as Harriet Beamer did and take life by the reins and ride it for the best time of her life. I rate this novel a 5 out of 5 stars and it truly shows in the character of Harriet Beamer that age is just a number, and life is truly worth living to the final moment!
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Review 14 for Harriet Beamer Takes the Bus - eBook
Joyce Magnin grabs my heart with laughter. I take a look at the cover of the book before me and I can just picture what's inside. I know I am not going to be disappointed. She takes you on a memorable journey and gives you a gift to treasure as you walk away.
Oh Harriet is a wonderful character. She is filled with just about every emotion as she is getting older and things are not as easy as they once were, but she isn't giving up any time soon. I love that!
Circumstances arrive and Harriet is willing to face them, but she feels the need to do it her way. What I love is the fact that although she thinks she's doing it her way, God is really at the wheel here, doing the guiding. Harriet is moving to California. She has a lot to come face to face with and one thing is her pride. Ouch!
Something I can carry away from this story is, when things get rough, I don't have to give up, I just have to allow God room to take the wheel and trust Him along the ride.
This book was a gift from Zondervan for its review.