cover image The 50 Year Dash

The 50 Year Dash

Bob Greene. Doubleday Books, $21.95 (304pp) ISBN 978-0-385-48667-5

Chicago Tribune syndicated columnist Greene (All Summer Long) frets that turning 50 is akin to becoming his own Uncle Phil, the dotty relative who visited when he was a kid. So he broods and broods then broods some more, which even his fellow boomers are likely to find a downer. The world is a temporary-placement agency, decides Greene, and at 50, ""All the maps inside your mind are marked with used-to be's."" But his sense of what used to be doesn't seem to go further back than John Lennon (he's heard of George Washington, however). Greene decries that the instant gratification of today's mercantilism that develops our vacation photos in an hour cheats us of the pleasure of anticipation. Landing on the wrong side of the generation gap also means that the songs of one's youth like ""Double Shot (of My Baby's Love)"" have become Golden Oldies. That this is a different America with different assumptions fills Greene with dismay verging on panic and will likely leave readers out of patience even as they read the last 20 pages, in which he finally finds some upbeat things to say. Author tour. (Feb.)