DAVE BARRY TURNS 50 by Dave Barry


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It had to happen. Old Mister Barry (Dave Barry Is from Mars and Venus, 1997; Dave Barry in Cyberspace, 1996; etc.), like many another humorist, has advanced in years and lived to tell about it. Baby Boomer comics are reaching the half-century mark in droves. It generally turns them solipsistic as well as silly, as they hearken to toots, creaks, squeaks, and other sounds of creeping senescence. Barry reports on his physical condition, too, and why not? But he also has another idea. A good part of his current effort presents a cultural history of the formative Boomer times and his part in them, starting with 1947 and going through 1974, when, it appears, the author gets tired of the exercise. If it’s not quite Mark Sullivan’s memorable six-volume Our Times covering the century’s early decades, the survey is, indeed, our times (or Barry’s times, anyway). And pretty foolish they seem, too, as Barry’s time capsule recalls popular music, consumer products, TV shows, advertising, and, of course, the ever looming threat of godless communism and the scary Sputnik. Nixon, Johnson, Kissinger are recalled with pleasant contempt. Fearlessly, the author names names; and almost always the name is the late Buffalo Bob, so things weren’t all bad. There was, after all, “streaking,” and Barry would like to see the fad of naked sprinting brought back, although in the case of Boomers, “there should definitely be a weight limitation.” In addition to the nostalgia, Dave presents obligatory lists (number 14 in “25 Things I Have Learned in 50 Years”: “Nobody is normal—), review questions, and footnotes (all citing “Buffalo Bob”). And nowhere is the word “prostate” found—except on the cover. Barry’s even longer in the tooth than he was when he wrote Dave Barry Turns 40, but despite his protestations of dotage, he is still clever enough to be his old funny self. There will probably be more laughs before Dave Barry Turns 60. (Author tour)

Pub Date: Oct. 14th, 1998
ISBN: 0-609-60327-2
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Crown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1998


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