Tuesday, April 24, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: Harriet Beamer Takes the Bus

Harriet Beamer Takes the Bus
Joyce Magnin
Zondervan 2012
Seventy-something year old Harriet Beamer thinks she can handle life on her own.  She is a widow who lives with her basset hound Humphrey  in the home built by her late husband.  She is involved in church, has a set routine, and wants nothing to break her out of if.  Harriet has a son who lives on the opposite side of the country, in California of all places, and she believes the greatest thing that could happen would be for her son and his wife to present her with a grandchild.  But she is beginning to lose hope that will ever happen! 
The adventure begins when Harriet’s son Henry and his wife Prudence come to celebrate Christmas.  Decorating the Christmas tree is something Harriet wants to share with Henry and Prudence.  But this one particular ornament – shouldn’t it be placed in just the right spot – it won’t take anything but stepping up onto a chair and it will be done.  Just one little ornament…  And that’s when disaster strikes!
What happens next sets the stage for Harriet’s grand adventure.  You know, placing a little wager that you are sure you can win, what’s the harm?  However, Harriet didn’t bargain for Prudence’s insistence on the terms of the wager.  And what is the wager?  Harriet’s house, and therefore her freedom!  If Harriet loses the wager she agrees to move to California to live with Henry and Prudence.  You guessed it – Harriet has to make good on the bet by selling her home.  However, what no one counted on was Harriet’s idea on HOW to get to Henry and Prudence’s place.  No jets or trains for her!  Once packed, she ships everything, including Humphrey. 
The grand adventure begins with Harriet boarding a bus.  A CITY bus, of all things.  She has decided she has to go to California, but it will be on her own terms, in her own time.  Determined to take alternative transportation, Harriet does things she never dreamed of doing.  She thinks and travels outside the box, outside her personal comfort zone.  And boy does she ever have some adventures! 
Harriet begins to realize that God is using her on this trip.  There are so many people she comes in contact with who need a kind word, who become interested in her adventure, who she is able to help and encourage.  And along the way she finds that she is learning to do as God wants her to do.  She is listening and responding positively to the nudges of the Holy Spirit.  She is learning to forgive, to let go, to let the past be the past.  And her relationship not only with Henry but with Prudence as well improves greatly.
I enjoyed reading the adventures of Harriet, and think you might, too!  Harriet reminds me of my own eighty-something year old widowed grandmother.  She even thinks the same and uses the same terminology!  Ms. Magnin has truly created a character who is both believable and inspiring.
In order to comply with new Federal Trade Commission regulations, please note that this book was provided compliments of  Zondervan.

1 comment: