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Harriet Beamer Takes the Bus

Narrated by: Laural Merlington
Length: 9 hrs and 15 mins
5 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)

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Summary

Harriet Beamer, an aging, recent widow, insists she’s getting along fine with her dog, Humphrey, in Philadelphia… until she falls for the fourth time, injuring her ankle and causing her son and daughter-in-law to cry foul. Insisting Harriet move in with them in California, they make a bet that her ankle is broken, and she foolishly promises to move if they’re right. Four x-rays later, Harriet’s ankle - and her heart - are broken. She packs up, ships her huge salt and pepper collection to California, and prepares to move away from the only life she knows. The only catch? She’s doing it her way. Just wait till her daughter-in-law hears Harriet will travel cross country only by public transportation and alternate means.

What follows is a hilarious, heartwarming journey by train, metro bus, ferry, and motorcycle. Along the way, Harriet discovers that, although her family thinks it’s time for her to be put out to pasture, God has a different plan.

©2012 Joyce Magnin (P)2012 Zondervan

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Profile Image for PJ Reader
  • PJ Reader
  • 12-08-12

Harriet's Exciting Adventure in finding herself

Would you listen to Harriet Beamer Takes the Bus again? Why?

I enjoyed Harriet Beamer Takes the Bus, but I doubt that I would listen to it again. While a fun sort of read, it wasn't a compelling read. I have recommended the book to friends who I thought might enjoy the spry Harriet.

What other book might you compare Harriet Beamer Takes the Bus to and why?

I would compare this book to Saint Training by Elizabeth FIxmer. Mary Clare O'Brian, a young Catholic teen on the cusp of becoming a woman learns that the world is a challenging place and not all that one wants will happen. Bad things will always occur and change is inevitable. Harriet had similar naivity, but I so admire her spunk and stubbornness once she found her feet.

What does Laural Merlington bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

If I had read the book, I think I would have always compared Harriet to some woman I know. With Laurel's voice, she became her own person. Laural also did a marvelous job with Harriet's son and Humphrey the dog descriptive passages were great.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I both laughed and cried - laughed at Harriet's naive view of the world and cried as she wrote in her journal to her late husband. She had lived in a fog of widowhood for years before finding herself and asserting her own personality. How much more productive and content and contributing would she have been had she moved forward 10 years earlier?

Any additional comments?

Harriet Beamer Rides the Bus is a good read for anyone who has parents beyond the age of 65. The book really did help me understand that even in age, parents have dreams and a strong will to still be persons of worth, contributing. Sometimes they need to do more than prepare sandwiches for funeral dinners and be in the quilt circle. Sometimes they need to sprout wings and take flight. I smiled at how little Harriet knew about technology, but rejoiced that she took to it quickly. She named her Android phone Amelia - a perfect blend of the technology with the historic woman flight pioneer.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for sharon
  • sharon
  • 02-07-12

Lots of Fun To Listen To

What made the experience of listening to Harriet Beamer Takes the Bus the most enjoyable?

The Story was engaging, funny and believable . Listening to it enhances the story for me.

What did you like best about this story?

It was different,funny, and completely flowing. It is a good read fro the older crowd. It was refreshing to have a story without all the cursing and sex featured in a lot of the current books.

What about Laural Merlington’s performance did you like?

She had the right flow and voice inflections to match the story.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes But rarely have the time.

Any additional comments?

Please offer MORE like these. How about the "Claire" books by Tracey Bateman? They are very funny LOL books. Not as good as Ann B. Ross but close.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for R. A Brosam
  • R. A Brosam
  • 17-07-19

I really wanted to like this book. Too preachy

As an older woman who loves to solo travel, I really enjoyed the first half of this book, in which Harriet decides to take a journey and meets normal commuters and encounters new experiences along the way. The author lost me half way through when Harriett began to go full on Nun as she starts getting more confident and the author starts reachong for interesting content. I especially hated the way the author makes Harriett out to be such a hero for taking a trip across country, as though it's hard or unsafe. I felt the second half of this book did more to discourage people from traveling than it did to encourage it. Trying to ignore the preaching while slogging through the second half of the book, the author adds insult to injury by replacing the serendipidous chance encounters with normal people with crazy, shallow, under-developed characters and check-the-box new modes of transportation. It took so long for the author to get to Gatlinburg, I was hoping the she wouldn't get lazy and rush through to an abrupt or loosely tied ending. But by chapter 28, I'm seriously DNF'ing this sappy, religious assault on intelligent readers in search of a realistic, unpretencious, unpreachy travel adventure. I would have loved to refer this book to friends, and looked forward to Harriett's next adventure with Martha. But now, I'm just regretting the 12-hours of life I will never get back.

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Profile Image for Lisa M. Gallup
  • Lisa M. Gallup
  • 13-08-18

Harriet Takes the Bus

Harriet loses the bet so she has to move to California to live with her son and his wife. She faces all types of adventure and fun times as she goes from bus, to train, to helicopter and any adventure that gets her to Cali! She kept a journal to let her deceased husband know what adventures she had that day. Fun book.

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  • hapemom
  • 20-11-17

Awesome

Loved reading this with lots of giggles and encouragement! Loved that Harriet went thru Colorado!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 28-07-17

Delightful!

This is by far the most delightful book I have listened to. The narrator is a perfect Harriet!

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Reed More
  • Reed More
  • 14-02-13

Childlike story

The story could almost have been a "how to" guide book--like a guide to traveling on public transportation--what perils to look out for, how to talk to strangers, how to react when strangers don't respond, how one should deal with certain situations. Childlike and boring. Very repititious, banal, and too detailed. Reminds me of the type of stories grade school kids often write involving step by boring step of what they did in a day. I was tired of Harriet giving herself and receiving pats on the back for her making such a courageous journey at her age. Preachy and full of cliches. Very predictable with few surprises. Certain situations in the story are very drawn out and repeated ad nauseum. I did like her using technology as a resource, but places were too conveniently located close to the stations to be realistic. The main character is likeable enough, but she often contradicts herself,and her personality isn't consistent. The reader does well, but too slow paced for my taste.