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51/50: The Magical Adventures of a Single Life [Kindle Edition]

Kristen McGuiness
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)

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Book Description

51 dates. 50 weeks. That was the social experiment Kristen McGuiness—single, living in LA, and entering her thirties newly sober—embarked upon. McGuiness thought facing her struggle with alcoholism would be the hardest part, with love coming easily afterwards. It didn’t. Rethinking her previous dating strategy, she embarks on the ultimate social experiment: 51 dates over the course of 50 weeks, and a chance to claim the life she thought was supposed to be hers.

Dodging CHAs (Cheesy Hollywood Actors) and men with self-diagnosed RAD (Relationship Anxiety Disorder), McGuiness is determined to find the "perfect guy" by being the "perfect girl." But McGuiness, like all of us, has her own issues to contend with: a longing for the wrong kind of men, a penchant for swearing, and a difficult relationship with her father in maximum-security prison. But as the year progresses, McGuiness begins to develop a new hope for her future—the dates transform into truth-seeking missions, and point her toward a life with satisfying work, a supportive family and, with the help of a local shaman, a comforting spirituality. Told with wry humor, pathos, and an engaging lack of self-pity, 51/50 is a moving adventure.

Editorial Reviews


Praise for 51/50

“Dating is something every woman has to do, but it’s so much more fun to read about Kristen doing it, and living to tell about it so hilariously, than actually having to suffer through it yourself. Thank you, sister.” —Heather McDonald, comedian and author of You’ll Never Blue Ball in This Town Again

“Never has the quest for love and sobriety seemed so hilariously poignant. A fizzy cocktail of Bridget Jones with a splash of A Million Little Pieces, Kristen McGuiness has bared her soul to give us a refreshing portrait of a young woman hell-bent on finding the perfect guy—only to find herself along the way.” —Kirsten Smith, co-screenwriter of Legally Blonde, 10 Things I Hate About You, and The Ugly Truth; author of The Geography of Girlhood

“Any woman who can go on fifty-one dates stone-cold sober is showing pluck that can’t be ignored. Kristen McGuiness has concocted a truly terrific read.” —Deanna Kizis, author of How to Meet Cute Boys and Finishing Touches

“As a woman who’s been dating in Los Angeles for five years—sober—I do miss the ‘beer goggles.’ If you aren’t using booze to get through it, baby, you better laugh, or cry. This book will have you doing both.” —Lisa Ann Walter, actress and comedian

About the Author

Kristen McGuiness works in fundraising for a Los Angeles non-profit, which provides progressive educational and social services to impoverished children, youth and families. Before she started hanging out with four year-olds for pay, she worked in books for St. Martin’s Press, Simon & Schuster, and Harper Collins (via the office of Judith Regan), and in film as a junior creative executive. Her first screenplay, The Betty, was optioned last year. She spends her free time being watched by horses.

Product Details

  • File Size: 491 KB
  • Print Length: 306 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1593764138
  • Publisher: Soft Skull Press; 1 edition (August 10, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00440D824
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #725,937 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Oliver! May 4, 2010
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
...or, looking for love in all the wrong places.

Kristen in still young, clever, now reliably sober, employed, and living in the LA she loves, but she's lonely and wants a man in her life. She vows to go on 51 dates in the next 50 weeks. Using at the least the power of numbers to her advantage, after all that she should have met at least one man eligible for a rewarding long-term relationship, right? Well, depends. In any case, the premise of the book is to do a chapter per date, and the book works as a sort of diary of her love-life, family life, work life, and general state of mind for that year; the blurb on the back cover suggests a cross between Briget Jones Diary and A Million Little Pieces, but I was thinking more like Groundhog Day.

Not every date is really a new date with a new man; sometimes the dates are one of Kristen's uncles, her mom, her healing shaman, her horse, a walk through the observatory; sometimes it's a date, but she has a way when sitting in front of a guy with a cup of coffee, of going into herself and her memory, so instead of a story of what a loser or jerk or prince this new guy is, we often get a good deal of back story on the guy she'd really prefer to be with, usually some beautiful loser who would be poison for her today (and was poison for her when she really did date him). Sometimes the chapter is entirely back story. There is also a lot - A LOT - about her previous abuse of alcohol, nitrous, cocaine, one nighters, herpes, and her new life now that she is sober. She is smart, and can certainly capture a moment in writing, but she's not as tough to pigeon-hole as a personality as she likes to claim she is.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars i was prepared to be disappointed in this book... July 24, 2010
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
...but 51/50 turned out to be completely engaging. our protagonist, and author kristin mcguiness, opens with something of a personal challenge to herself: with newly found sobriety and a personal history that has precluded dating deep into her twenties, engage in a journey that winds through men, spirit, and the hills around L.A. in search of something special.

51/50 is as much autobiography written in real time, as it must have been a philosophic and spiritual journey. the book itself is as much a character as is her mother, shaman, father, uncles, friends, her horse, and the men who bounce around in her personal pinball machine. ordinarily i personally find this sort of journaling repellent as a form of literature, but this kristen mcguiness compels you to look deeply into each connection she makes and the context she brings to every meeting.

who knows if hers is a sympathetic figure. from her own description she is beautiful and, well, purely L.A. she escapes deep addictions to alcohol, coke, and lifestyle and, through determination and, well, genetically imbued spunk, to get her dream job, remain beautiful, and write. who among us has time (inclination?) to go out on 50 dates in a year?

she embodies the archetype that the rest of us either admires from afar, or detest for the happy superficiality. some speak of the NY Yankees in the same way, and woody allen has opinions on the differences between NYC and L.A. we all do, and you will bring that bias with you in this celebration of all things L.A. kristin embraces L.A. the way the heroines of Sex and the City embrace NYC, though 51/50 wanders through both.

who NEEDS to read this book? the answer might surprise you. men.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
Too much of 'aren't I amazing because I can naval gaze?' There are some funny parts, but all in all, it was hard to finish.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Woman on a mission August 13, 2010
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
51/50 author Kristen McGuiness loves Los Angeles, horses, and Griffith Park Observatory. She's in her early 30s, has a few years sober in AA, and is proactive enough to take matters into her own hands when smug married friends tell her "you'll find love when you stop looking for it" or "it will happen when it's supposed to." Kristen's not waiting for the fickle finger of fate to designate her love-readiness; she's gonna get a man on her own. Thus we have 51/50, her memoir of 51 dates in 50 weeks in the City of Angels.

I applaud her chutzpah; she tells her friends and family about her project and goes online (mostly at the Onion) looking for her man. She also revisits hard-to-shake men from her past, namely Oliver and Jimmy Voltage. She goes on blind dates and hook-ups recommended by friends. She goes on so many dates that she identifies patterns and phases of the date; even though she can tell pretty quick whether there's "chemistry" she does have a few surprises.

51/50 is an excellent case study in what happens when young women with "daddy issues" try to find love, even when she knows she has emotional baggage. Kristen is the daughter of a drug-running father who lived the high life (in every way) before landing in jail for a very long time. I'd expect Kristen to have more swagger about her, but she was still pretty young when dad went to prison. But Kristen still loves him and still waits for him to Show Up and Be Dad, her most hoped-for 50th date. She has a tough journey ahead of her, but she has courage on her side.

For those who love LA or miss it, this book will be great as she oohs and ahhs over the Griffith Park Observatory, goes horseback riding through the hills, hits parties and visits friends in favorite neighborhoods (Silver Lake in particular).
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Books
It is amazing to be able to download a book through Amazon Kindle.
It is so easy to do and then can be transported so easily.
Published 15 months ago by addy8
1.0 out of 5 stars boring; new age crap
This book is supposed to be funny but it isn't at all. A lonely single lady going on boring dates and getting advice from a hippy wacko; a few hours I'll never get back.
Published 17 months ago by Melanie
5.0 out of 5 stars Wish I could read it again for the first time!
I happened across this book in the library, and after one page I realized, not coincidentally. As if Kristen was speaking straight to me and my other 20 something friends, I did... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Ashlee
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun!
I loved this book. I actually saved it after I read it and my friend is going to read it soon. I like how this is a woman's story even if it's a little fudged, but it's about... Read more
Published 23 months ago by Cynthia
4.0 out of 5 stars Very honest and courageous story
This is the type of book I usually avoid. Dating, romance, love, hope, heartbreak, spirituality, and even family can and often do dredge up memories I'd rather not think about. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Tiffiny Sarradet
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this book - it is transformative!
I really loved this book. I loved Kristen's writing and her stories. This was the first book that I ever read where I wanted to write an email to the author and tell her how... Read more
Published on February 8, 2013 by R. London
1.0 out of 5 stars The daily ponderings of one woman
This reads like a thought diary pondering over non loves and while the author spills her desires in the romance department she weaves in some facts about her childhood that... Read more
Published on February 5, 2013 by pat Hasson
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it !!
This book gave me more than just a fun read, it gave me ideas for improving my life and make it better, for accepting facts and love and life in a better way. Read more
Published on January 22, 2013 by ladysupermarket
4.0 out of 5 stars good read
Nice book overall with some good humor in it. Looking for something lite and funny this is it. Enjoyed it.
Published on January 19, 2013 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Transcends Vast Differences In Age& Life To Grow & Inspire
The author's uncle Tom and my sister-in-law Cindy visited with us in Southern California this summer. Tom spoke of Kristen so proudly and mentioned her book. Read more
Published on October 2, 2012 by Princess Leah
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More About the Author

Kristen McGuiness was born in Easton, Connecticut, but spent her childhood in Dallas, Texas. She left the Lone Star State to attend Hamilton College in New York. After college, she worked in the book industry at St. Martin's Press, Free Press, and for Judith Regan at Harper Collins. Kristen also spent time in film development and as an assistant to a top-Hollywood agent. The last few years, she has worked as a fundraising manager for a Los Angeles-based non-profit. Her first book 51/50: The Magical Adventures of a Single Life will be published in September 2010 by Soft Skull Press.


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