Dave Barry turns 50.

Dave Barry

Book - 1998

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2nd Floor 817.54/Barry Checked In
New York : Crown Publishers 1998.
Physical Description
219 p.
Main Author
Dave Barry (-)
Review by Booklist Review

Master exaggerator Barry returns to the book tour, pushing one of his annual "Dave Barry does something" things. Staring his semicentennial right in the face, he does what any self-respecting, self-absorbed boomer will do in such a crisis: he starts talkin' 'bout My Generation. His saving grace is the sarcastic ridicule with which he reviews the faddish sides of the boomer upbringing, where Silly Putty was king, McDonald's took its place alongside the nursing bottle, TV began its moronization of the world, and awful-to-tolerable pop singles stalked the AM-only airwaves. With mock-horror, Barry catalogs those things--the toys, the gloppy food, the TV shows, and sappy songs--year by year up to 1974; so Barry's fans must wade through his past (not that they mind) for three-fourths of the book to get to the point: his geriatric future. It begins with The Letter, an invitation to join AARP, which Barry notes is the defender of Social Security and "the constitutional right to drive without any clue where the actual road is." Rebel with a cause, he's instead starting up BARF (Boomers against Reaching Farthood). So runs the Barry style, delivering a bushel of chuckles for readers of his weekly humor column. Gilbert Taylor

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission. Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Pulitzer prize-winning columnist Barry claims, "Many bad things happen when you turn 50. You can't see; you can't hear; you can read the entire Oxford English Dictionary in the time it takes you to go to the bathroom; and you keep meeting people your own age who look like Grandpa Walton." Even so, in this follow-up to his bestselling Dave Barry Turns 40, he decided not to dwell "on the negative aspects of turning 50" and instead offers a "celebration of the aging process" by examining significant baby-boomer accomplishments ("The New Age movement! Call waiting!"). Barry begins with boomer origins in the late 1940s, a time when record players "were closer in design and sound quality to washing machines." Each subsequent decade gets a full chapter as Barry waxes nostalgic while shuffling down pathways of the past to examine an assortment of arcane artifacts and "actual facts," largely gleaned from Rita Lang Kleinfelder's 750-page When We Were Young: A Baby-Boomer Yearbook. Barry ends each chapter with "Discussion Questions" ("Did you inhale? Explain."), and maintains mirth right to the closing pages (retirement plans, death options). However, it's the look back at TV commercials, politics, inventions and attitudes that really makes those who have seen it all (much of "it" through trifocals) chortle out loud. 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. 13-city birthday tour. (Oct.) FYI: Appropriately enough, this title is also available as a Random House audio ($18 ISBN 0-375-40428-7) and in a large-print edition ($22 ISBN 0-375-70418-3) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved Review by Library Journal Review

Baby-boomer Barry (Dave Barry Is from Mars and Venus, LJ 9/1/97) waxes nostalgic about his life and times in this latest autobiographical work. Tracing the history of boomers, Barry measures some of the greatest achievements of our time, like the introduction of the first major TV jingle, for Ajax ("Use Ajax! The foaming cleanser!"). From this point on, Barry notes, thousands more jingles gradually filled baby boomers' minds with "brain sludge." He points out that as we turn 50, most of us cannot name the secretary of defense, but we can sing the Brylcreem jingle. Other topics include politics, highlighted by Watergate, and inventions of concern to baby boomers such as Oreos, Silly Putty, long-playing records, and espresso makers. At once funny and depressing, Barry reminds us of the cost of sending a child to college ("a bajillion dollars"), planning for retirement ("how to survive when you get old"), and the inevitability of death ("your life is mostly over"). Guess you'd better buy this book now while you can still read the print. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/98.]‘Joe Accardi, Northeastern Illinois Univ. Lib., Chicago (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. Review by Kirkus Book Review

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 normalŽ), review questions, and footnotes (all citing ``Buffalo Bob''). And nowhere is the word ``prostate'' foundŽexcept 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)

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.