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Dave Barry Turns Fifty

3.79  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,346 Ratings  ·  58 Reviews
From the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist comes a celebration of the aging process. Not just Dave's, but that of the whole Baby Boom Generation--those millions of us who set a standard for whining self-absorption that will never be equaled, and who gave birth to such stunning accomplishments as Saturday Night Live!, the New Age movement, and call waiting. Here Dave pinpoi ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published August 31st 1999 by Ballantine Books (first published 1998)
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243rd out of 248 books — 180 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,784)
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Russell Libonati
Jul 13, 2014 Russell Libonati rated it really liked it
It's not his finest work. I remember reading articles by him when I was in college and just laughing out loud. This was more of a chuckle. But I really did love the drive-by down memory lane. I'm not a big history buff, but I really do like to see where things that I know fit into history, like when McDonald's opened or the first time a show appeared on TV, etc. I'd actually like to read more history this way.

The older I get the more I realize just how horrible history was presented in school as
Jul 28, 2009 Jessica rated it really liked it
Shelves: humor
Includes the brilliant list "25 Things I've Learned in 50 Years", from which I still remember and frequently cite the following:
"#6. Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.
#13. A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person. (This is very important. Pay attention. It never fails.)"
That second one is especially true, and I have often observed its truth in the decade since then. People, take note!
Oct 24, 2011 Sue rated it it was ok
Shelves: humor
I'm a big fan of Dave Barry -- have been for years -- but I did not think this was his best book. Though, to be fair, I would really give it 2.5 stars if 1/2 points were allowed. It did made me laugh out loud often enough that my husband asked me to read something else since "one of us is trying to get some sleep here."

Basically, I thought the humor in this book was so very specific to Baby Boomers that it would be hard for anyone else to really enjoy it, sort of a "you had to be there" humor bo
Oct 23, 2013 Ruth rated it liked it
Shelves: seattle-ii
Chapter 8 - 25 Things I have Learned in 50 Years

1. The badness of a movie is directly proportional to the number of helicopters in it.

2. You will never find anybody who can give you a clear and compelling reason why we observe "Daylight Saving Time."

3. People who feel the need to tell you that they have an excellent sense of humor are telling you that they have no sense of humor.

4. The most valuable function performed by the federal government is entertainment.

5. You should never say anything to
Tory Wagner
Jun 29, 2015 Tory Wagner rated it liked it
Shelves: biography, comedy
Dave Barry has written many books, but is probably best known as a Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper columnist. His sense of humor may not appeal to everyone, but I enjoy his anecdotes. Having grown up in the 60's and 70's , many of my experiences are similar to his although I would never have been able to write about them in such a humorous fashion. Turning 50 is a milestone for most and it's always better to approach it in laughter rather than tears. Read and enjoy!
May 21, 2015 astaliegurec rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dave Barry's "Dave Barry Turns Fifty" isn't quite what I expected it to be. I expected more of Dave's observations on growing old. That stuff is in there. But, most of the book focuses on what happened during the years from Dave's birth to his adulthood. I enjoyed that material because it reminded me of all the similar things way back in my youth (and, it's funny, too). It's a fun book, though not gut-bustingly so, and I rate it at a Very Good 4 stars out of 5.
Mar 24, 2015 Sandy rated it really liked it
Shelves: funny, non-fiction
Oh, Dave Barry. So funny. I read this before but since I turned 50 I figured I needed to read it again. I'm glad I did because I was able to appreciate it more now. There were so many times I laughed and said me too. I did like the way he talked about each year and even though he is 17 years older than I am and I am at the end of the boomer years I did remember a lot of stuff that went on. Hopefully both Dave and I still have many years to come.
Ryk Stanton
Dec 22, 2013 Ryk Stanton rated it liked it
I found this book on the Friends of the Library shelf for just twenty-five cents, and I have to say that it was definitely worth the money! I am not sure why exactly Dave Barry is so popular. I mean, the book was okay; it had a few chuckles and a few groans, but overall I wasn't that massively impressed. Maybe part of that is due to the fact that the book was published in 1999; I won't be fifty until 2017. So Dave Barry is eighteen years older than me, and I guess that qualifies him to be in the ...more
Feb 12, 2016 Jeanne rated it really liked it
One of my favorite humorists, Dave Barry can always be counted on the find the humor in everything even turning 50. And while he's busy being funny he can sometimes bring poignancy and clarity into his writing that stabs you right in the heart. No wonder he won a Pulitzer.
gary h dicker
Jun 03, 2014 gary h dicker rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I laughed at inappropriate times while reading this in.public

My father is still angry when I burst out laughing when they lowered the casket containing my mom and remembered parts of this book
May 27, 2015 Joanna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Provoked a few gaffaws but overall the first half was better than the second half. I particularly enjoyed the review of the baby boomer decades and the list of things he has learned in 50 years.
Mary Lou
Typical Dave Barry - sometimes funny, sometimes annoying, always goofy. Non-boomers probably shouldn't bother.
Jul 10, 2008 Janet rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I love all of Dave Barry's books, but this is one of my favorites. Perhaps because I was in my 50s when I read it. It's so funny.

For example, in the first chapter, he talks about ordering from menus. He says "At first I thought... that for some reason, possibly to save ink, the restaurants had started printing their menus in letters the height of bacteria." And "So, for a while I dealt with the situation by ordering off the menus of people sitting at other tables."

Maybe this is only hysterical
David Nelson
Oct 15, 2014 David Nelson rated it it was amazing
Great. Dave Barry makes getting older something to not fear, but rather, to embrace with a laugh.
Jun 15, 2016 Mary rated it it was amazing
So funny. Dave will be 70 in a year or so, and I wish he'd write another.
Oct 23, 2014 Mark rated it liked it
moderately humorous, nothing really noteworthy. didn't really crack me up.
Lynn Witherell
Jan 02, 2016 Lynn Witherell rated it it was amazing
Love anything Dave Barry! Including this one! Give as a gift!
Nov 13, 2014 Sarah rated it it was amazing
Hilarious insights!
Feb 14, 2016 Brett rated it liked it
Shelves: humor
Published in 1999, here is Barry remembering his formative years. The bulk of the book goes through the 1960s and 1970s year by year and features Barry talking about what he remembers being popular fads at the time.

It's a good for a few laughs, though probably funnier if you are about the same age as Barry (I'm too young to have actual memories of what he is mostly discussing). A very light read. You'll have forgotten it from pretty much the moment you put it down, but it's fun while it lasts.
Apr 25, 2008 Tlnorz rated it really liked it
This was a very funny book and a pretty good history lesson to boot. Of course, the poignancy of a book like this is in the eye of the beholder/reader. It is very poignant to someone near the big 5-0 or past the big 5-0. To the younger set, not so affecting.
But, whether your 25 or 50, it's still funny stuff though a tad bit dated, it was written right at the end of the 90's so it still has Bill Clinton and Monica jokes and some references to the upcoming new millennium.
Jodi Sh.
May 16, 2011 Jodi Sh. rated it it was ok
Shelves: mfa-readings, memoir
Light. Fluff. Not terribly clever, but fun, Barry recounts the years that brought him to fifty, one at a time with an humorous overview of what was happening in the world at the time. What TV shows, fads, political events, etc. He manages to be serious when called for without really breaking the rhythm. If I never read this my life would not have been less, and it's not worth the weight of carrying around to read on the subway, but over breakfast each morning, why not?
Jun 01, 2013 Alissa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was not his normal laugh out loud writing, so if you're looking for guffaw moments, this is not your book.
However what this book does have is a wonderful look at how Baby Boomers grew up, the challenges they dealt with and a humorous look at fads during these times.
I was looking for the guffaw moments, however I'm glad I read this book. I am a product of the Boomer generation, so this was a great look into what my parents went though in some cases.
Steve Miller
Jan 18, 2013 Steve Miller rated it it was ok
Shelves: humor
Dave Barry was one of the funniest people in the papers before he retired, and I'm turning 50 in a couple of years. When I saw this book at the bookstore for $2.00, I didn't think twice.

What I didn't realize is that Barry is old enough to be my father, and this book was written a generation ago. The material probably would have made Boomers laugh back in the 90s. I laughed at his comments about going farsighted, but that was about it.
Sep 15, 2009 Adrienne rated it liked it
This was great for distracting me from a horrible toothache. He has such a funny take on pop culture. Some of the things that I thought had been around forever have only been invented in the last 50 years! Like what? Go read the book.

Actually, unless you are about 60 years old, a lot of this stuff might just be useles trivia. I mean, who cares what shows were on in the 1950s? Is that all this guy did? Watch TV?
Jun 21, 2009 Terry rated it really liked it
I bought this book for my brother as a 50th b-day present. I am going to read it first though... he would want me to- really! B&N didn't have Dave Barry Turns 40, so I'll have to read this first.
Ok, not Dave's best, but there were some laugh outloud moments. It would be especially funny if you were born in 1957 or was he born in 47? Anyway, good, easy, funny book to read in between novels.
Deborah Markus
Jun 21, 2012 Deborah Markus rated it really liked it
Usually I prefer Barry's columns, but this is a terrific read. It's unexpectedly informative, because he includes some terrific history. I love thinking about how he'd react to hearing that the decade he grew up in is history to me. And guess what? I'm not young. But read this book anyway. It's fun and funny and will make you feel a little better about your inevitable decay.
Aug 10, 2012 Joan rated it it was amazing
I have loved everything he writes. When I planned a "Turning 50" party for my husband and I and another coupld (A Bicentennial party with all of us!) I used excerpts from this book to help folks see what we have lived through. He humorously gives you the advantages of turning 50 and the 50 years of inventions (think Howdy Doody, Oreos, and other nostalgia!!
Patricia Hart
Apr 29, 2015 Patricia Hart rated it really liked it
Funny man, as always!
May 27, 2009 Jen rated it liked it
This book starts off absolutely hysterical, but once it gets into the year-by-year breakdown the laughs dry up. It's partly my fault, though; I'm too young to remember most of what Barry is reminiscing about. I'm sure it's far more entertaining for boomers, since the book is aimed at their generation.
Aug 15, 2013 Megan rated it liked it
Dave Barry is one of the best comedy writers out there, but the content of this book was definitely for a certain audience. I understood the jokes, but not the references. My grandma liked it when I read excerpts to her. It's a great nostalgia read for the Boomer generation.
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Dave Barry is a humor columnist. For 25 years he was a syndicated columnist whose work appeared in more than 500 newspapers in the United States and abroad. In 1988 he won the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary. Many people are still trying to figure out how this happened.
Dave has also written a total of 30 books, although virtually none of them contain useful information. Two of his books were used as
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