The Growing Pains of Jennifer Ebert, Aged 19 Going on 91

by David M Barnett @davidmbarnett

November 15, 2018

Book Review By


About the Book

From the bestselling author of CALLING MAJOR TOM comes a heartwarming comedy about unlikely friendships and community.

Fans of The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes by Ruth Hogan, The Man I Think I Know by Mike Gayle, The Map of Us by Jules Preston, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman, and Checking Out by Nick Spalding will love this.


Nineteen-year-old Jennifer is regretting her hasty move into
Sunset Promenade, an unusual retirement home taking in students to save

Despite their differences in age, Jennifer and the older residents thrive and embark on a series of new adventures.

But when Sunset Promenade is threatened with closure, cracks
begin to show, and this quirky group of friends must work together to
save their home.

The Growing Pains of Jennifer Ebert, aged 19 going on
91 is a funny, warm and uplifting novel about the importance of
friendship, the value of community, and how it’s never too late to have
the time of your life…

Jennifer Ebert has transferred to Morecambe University to escape an
embarrassing situation she had suffered at Loughborough and to also
change from studying Economics to Film Studies. As her student
accommodation is not quite ready she has agreed to stay at the Sunset
Retirement home at a reduced rent as part of an initiative to mix the
elderly with the younger generation.  This idea is not really that
far-fetched as there have been similar things happening in real life but
more with 5 – 9 year olds than university students.

In the beginning I did get the feeling that this was a book with two
separate stories, that of Jennifer and the university students and then
the residents of the retirement home as the book was told from the two
different viewpoints with very little bringing them together.  This
changed about halfway through the book when the group bonded over some
home-made brew and a fancy dress party. From this point on I really
began to enjoy the book as you got to see more of the personalities of
the residents and in some cases find out why they had the attitudes they

There were certainly a couple of moments where I was chuckling whilst
reading, one being when Jennifer remembered the events that caused her
to change both her university and course, and when you read the events
that led up to it you just know it will not end well. The other one was
when the group has gone for their yearly trip to the Isle of Man. Whilst
scattering the ashes of one of the residents, they forgot to check
which way the wind was blowing…I think you know where this is heading….
Now the reason I found it funny was I know how they felt as when we went
to scatter the ashes of my father in law, my mother in law didn’t check
the wind direction.

I think if I was honest the only thing that didn’t make sense to me
was the two Chinese students. Although it was good to know that there
was more than just Jennifer and John Paul staying there, they didn’t
really add anything to the story, and they were soon relocated to some
of the finished student accommodation within the university.

If from the title of the book you are expecting something along the
lines of Adrian Mole, then this might not be the book for you. That
being said this is a good read that shows that no matter what age you
are, you can find common interests if you look for them and that
sometimes you have to learn to accept yourself for who you are as much
as others around you do.

Published by Residential Forum

The Residential Forum is to promote the achievement of high standards of care and support for children and adults living in residential care and nursing homes, supported housing, residential schools and colleges, hospices and hostels. It contributes to improving the quality of service to the public. Members of the Forum are people of standing and experience drawn from the public, private and voluntary sectors, as well as some who can speak for service users and carers.

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