THE 50 YEAR DASH by Bob Greene

THE 50 YEAR DASH

The Feelings, Foibles, and Fears of Being Half a Century Old
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Syndicated Chicago Tribune columnist and novelist Greene (All Summer Long, 1993; Hang Time, 1992; etc.) celebrates his half- century, and he wants to tell all his contemporaries about it. In a text shamelessly aimed at the blip in birth stats known as the baby boom, the author waxes, in turn, philosophical and nostalgic. The boomers, after all, are approaching an age when everyone's mirror starts to reflect a likeness of Ernest Borgnine or Barbara Bush (and which one it may reflect doesn't depend on gender, it seems). While the once evergreen Dick and Jane inevitably evolve into the quintessential oldsters Darby and Joan, old Mr. Greene mutters about past menus and mores and the odd ways of parents, children, and people in general. Junk food and junk music are recalled fondly. Replete with memories of cheeseburgers, the Beach Boys, and innocent childhood, the whimsy is good-natured, homely, and gentle. But it's better taken in column-size doses. A little of this sort of maundering goes pretty far. The approach can be trite (``Perhaps, at 50, we must become our parents whether we wish to or not'') or strained (``When every house had a sewing machine,'' he supposes, ``the national fabric seemed just a little stronger''). The writing can be simply careless (``in a country where the act of reading sometimes feels like an endangered species'') or simple flapdoodle (a lone paragraph: ``You begin to realize that the Reader's Digest has very interesting articles''). The one-liners, homilies, advisories, and anecdotes add up, after all, to less than a sum of the disparate parts. Rampant nostalgia and inoffensive sentiment, marketed to the newly middle-aged. Here's a text that looks a lot like a mammoth Hallmark birthday card. (Author tour)

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-385-48667-7
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Doubleday
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 1996




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