Touchstone, Jun 15 2010, $14.99
In Philadelphia, fifty-five years old Barbara Sustamon and her husband Larry the dentist host a birthday party for her widowed mom Ellie Jerome. The cake from the Swiss Pastry Shop contains twenty-nine candles. Ellie wishes to be that age again for one day, as she is jealous of her twenty-five years old fashion designer granddaughter Lucy and has a lifetime of regrets as well as a closet filled with clothing provided by her decade older late husband Howard.
The next morning Ellie awakens to find her wish came true. She persuades Lucy that she is Ellie and they begin to make her day happen even as Barbara and Ellie’s BFF septuagenarian widow Frida Freedberg worry about her strange phone calls to each of them. As Barbara and Frida search for Ellie, Lucy and her grandma begin an odyssey that will have more meaning for the four of them and others.
The four females make for a profound character driven tale as each has regrets except the youngest. Ellie is superb as she learns she is not jealous of her granddaughter’s opportunities but of her era allowing women chances her generation never had as marriage was the only goal. Barbara just wishes to prove her worth to her mother. Frida prays she can finally move on passed her late mom who haunts her every decision. Ironically Lucy as the under thirty is the wisest. 29 is a deep tale with some humor provided by the searchers.