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51/50: The Magical Adventures of a Single Life Paperback – August 24, 2010

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Soft Skull Press; 1 edition (August 24, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593764138
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593764135
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #192,237 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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 nonprofit serving low-income children, youth, and families. Before she was paid to spend time with four-year-olds, she worked in publishing for St. Martin’s Press, Simon & Schuster, and HarperCollins (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 hanging out with horses, shamans, and people who used to drink.

Customer Reviews

I guess I'm just too much of a "normie" to get her.
I don't even understand the purpose of the author's intention other than in writing a somewhat boring journal.
It was a great book to read while traveling or when a reader has only a few minutes to read a chapter or two.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Konrad Baumeister VINE VOICE on 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 By Bevan Wistar on 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 By Trying to keep up.... on January 15, 2012
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 By Cedric's Mom VINE VOICE on 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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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.