Summary and book reviews of Dave Barry Turns 50 by Dave Barry

Dave Barry Turns 50

By Dave Barry

Dave Barry Turns 50
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  • Hardcover: Oct 1998,
    224 pages.
    Paperback: Aug 1999,
    255 pages.

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Book Summary

And no, he's not going to whine about it. In fact, he's not going to dwell on the negative aspects of turning 50 at all, like the weight gain that results from merely watching food commercials, or that you discover random hairs sprouting from unexpected sectors of your body.

Instead, Dave is going to make all of you out there under the half-century mark envious with a rundown of the advantages of turning 50. For instance, you know all those newspaper articles about Middle East turmoil you read because you think you should? Dave doesn't read 'em, because with his eyes he can't! And you know all that energy you expend trying to look and sound hip? Dave doesn't, because after 50 it's hopeless and he's through trying to be one of the Boyz N the Burbz.

And Dave writes not only about being 50, but also about 50 years of inventions (Oreos, Silly Putty), arts (Howdy Doody, TV commercials), politics (the Cold War, the Cold War, and more of the Cold War), and other baby boomer nostalgia.

So call Dave and let him know how much you're looking forward to reading Dave Barry Turns 50. But not right now--he's sleeping.

Ten Signs That You Might Be Losing It

  1. You tend to forget things.
  2. When you drive your car, you notice that people yell at you a lot. Often, these people are lying on your hood.
  3. On more than one occasion, while shaving, you have noticed that your razor seemed kind of dull. Upon closer examination, your razor turned out to be your toothbrush.
  4. You're always searching for the right word or name. You'll be telling an anecdote, and you'll get stuck on a name, and you'll tell your listeners: "You know! That guy! With the thing! He has that thing! That guy!" And everybody will start trying to guess who you're talking about, as if you're playing charades, and finally, after ten minutes of this, it will turn out that the name you're trying to remember is: "The Pope." By this time, of course, you have no recollection of the original anecdote.
  5. You sometimes address your spouse as "General Eisenhower."
  6. You tend to forget things.
  7. You sometimes wear a bathrobe to the office.
  8. And it isn't your office.
  9. It isn't your bathrobe, either.
  10. You tend to forget things.

Introduction

It's Great to Be 50!

Right. And Herbert Hoover was a rap singer.

I am NOT going to whine.

Yes, I have turned 50.

Yes, this is an age that I used to consider old. Not middle-aged, like Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore in The Dick Van Dyke Show; but actually old, like Walter Brennan as Granpappy Amos in The Real McCoys, gimping around cluelessly in a pair of bib overalls and saying things like "Con-SARN it!"

But I do not choose to dwell on the negative. I choose to be an optimist, like the great explorer Christopher Columbus, who had a dream that he could sail a ship all the way across the Atlantic Ocean. People said he was crazy, but Columbus did not know the meaning of the word "discouragement." (He also did not know the meaning of "nostril" or "weasel," because he spoke Italian.)

And so Columbus boldly set out and discovered the New World, and then he went back to Europe, where he died in obscurity at age 55, which is only five ...

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Reviews

Media Reviews
Publishers Weekly

It's not unlike an archeological dig through an attic, choking from laughter rather than dust, as familiar and forgotten memories are refreshed and taken for a satirical synaptic spin by a master humorist.

Kirkus Reviews

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 the 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 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.

Reader Reviews
DPap

What can I say, except "Wow!" Blended with true facts, his humor is funnier than ever. It's most likely his best book yet.
Downsides: Not many. There are a few parts that aren't very funny, but around 90% of it is laugh-out-loud funny. I...   Read More

Barrett kesterlian

Brilliant!!!! What more can one say?

Anonymous
Barrett Kesterlian
As always, Mr. Barry is brilliant. I have already read the book twice. The flow is as smooth as always. His outlook on his age is not mockery but true self assessment. We hope to get there and when I do, I will have the book next to...   Read More

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