Back When We Were Grownups

Back When We Were Grownups

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An irresistible new novel from Anne Tyler. At 53, Rebecca Davitch- mistress of The Open Arms, a crumbling 19th-century row house in Baltimore where giving parties is the family business-suddenly asks herself whether she has turned into the wrong person. Is she really this natural-born celebrator; joyous and out-giving?

Certainly that's how Joe Davitch saw her 30-some years ago. And that's why this large-spirited older man, a divorce with three little girls, swept her into his orbit. Before she knew it, she was embracing his extended family (plus a child of their own) and hosting endless parties in the ornate, high-ceilinged rooms where people paid to celebrate their family occasions in style.

But can Beck (as she is known to the Davitch clan) really recover the person she has left behind? A question that touches us all-and one that Anne Tyler explores with characteristic humor and wisdom in a novel one wishes would never end.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780739333426
Publisher: Random House Audio Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/18/2006
Edition description: Unabridged
Product dimensions: 5.05(w) x 6.00(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Anne Tyler was born in Minneapolis in 1941 but grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. She graduated at nineteen from Duke University and went on to do graduate work in Russian studies at Columbia University. This is Anne Tyler's fifteenth novel; her eleventh, Breathing Lessons, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1988. She is a member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. She lives in Baltimore.


Baltimore, Maryland

Date of Birth:

October 25, 1941

Place of Birth:

Minneapolis, Minnesota


B.A., Duke University, 1961

Read an Excerpt

I thought I recognized and knew Bill Clinton and what made him tick. I understood the ambition, the success, the political duplicity, the Hollywood charm. I started reading everything ever written about Bill Clinton . . .

As the impeachment psychodrama began, I watched every minisecond of it . . . learned a lot . . . about myself and Bill Clinton and about America . . .

I wasn't just thinking of Bill Clinton anymore, but about a generation, my generation, which, in some ways, even though it was entrenched in power, creeping up on sixty, was still struggling to find itself.

This book is filled with everything I thought about and learned. Ah, yes, except it's not that simple. If only it were . . . but it never is.

I am loath to confess that I have had a writing partner who has cursed my career from the time I was in the sixth grade . . . "the twisted little man inside me."

And as I wrote this book -- about a cultural shadow war that resulted in the figurative assassination of a president (Bill Clinton) -- I realized that the Twisted Little Man was writing feverishly, too. And hallucinating. Daydreaming. Wet-dreaming. Projecting. . . . If you get angry while you're reading this brazen book, blame it on the crude, insulting little prick -- Lord knows, he's gotten too many people terribly angry through the years.

The little devil and I had a nerve-racking, maddening, revolting, hilarious, and climactic time writing this book. We hope that your time reading it will be similar.

Reading Group Guide

1. It is upon Peter's second disappearance during the picnic that Rebecca first thinks: "How on earth did I get like this? How? How did I ever become this person who's not really me?" (p. 20, lines 33-34). Why does Rebecca's "identity crisis" begin at this particular moment in her life?

2. Did Rebecca "choose" her life, or is her life just an example of Poppy's observation: "Your true life is the one you end up with, whatever it may be. You just do the best you can with what you've got"? (p. 252, lines 1-2). Do people choose their identities, or do they just "end up" the way they are?

3. Rebecca asks her client: "Mrs. Border, have you ever stopped to consider what a marvelous purpose a party serves?" (p. 38, lines 17-18). How does Rebecca answer her own question? Would she answer it differently at the end of the novel?

4. What is the significance of Rebecca's "Freudian slip"--if it can be called that--when she tells Zeb that she is a "superficial" woman, when she really means "superfluous"? Is Rebecca either "superfluous" or "superficial"? Is superfluous a word one could use to describe any character in the book?

5. "[Zeb] had a theory that Min Foo's many marriages were her way of trying on other lives" (p. 29, lines 34-35). Is this the same as what Rebecca is trying to do? Is this a universal fantasy that Rebecca is living out? What might be Tyler's opinion of one trying to "go back to take the other fork in the road" or "trying on different lives"? What other examples can you find in Back When We Were Grownups thatprovide different ways to think about or define the concept of identity?

6. The opening words of the novel, "Once upon a time . . . , " recall the motif used in fables or fairy tales. In what ways does Back When We Were Grownups resemble a fairy tale or contain elements of the fairy tale or fable? Does Back When We Were Grownups have a moral?

7. Rebecca realizes the irony of the fact that the more she does for her family, the less she is appreciated. "It had occurred to her, often, that the way to win your family's worshipful devotion was to abandon them" (p. 87, lines 17-18). The reader learns a lot about how "Beck" feels about her family--but how does her family feel about her? Does it matter to Rebecca whether her family appreciates her or not? What does the book suggest about how family members treat one another generally in society?

8. How is marriage portrayed in Back When We Were Grownups? Are there marriages of convenience, or are there examples of marriage where both parties to the marriage are equally "useful" to each other, as Rebecca advises NoNo on her marriage to Barry (p. 246, lines 31-32)? Is Rebecca's advice to NoNo convincing to the reader? To Rebecca herself? Why do marriages fail: Joe and Tina's, Will and Laura's, and Min Foo's first two marriages?

9. How would you compare the different types of love explored in the book? With respect to Poppy, Rebecca observes: "Apparently you grow to love whom you're handed" (p. 157, lines 1-2). Is this applicable to the love Rebecca has for any of the other people in her life? In the case of her sons-in-law, Rebecca had promised that she would treat them differently than her mother treated Joe, and "she had kept her promise so faithfully that now she couldn't say for certain whether she truly loved her sons-in-law or merely thought she did" (p. 144, lines 23-25). Is there a practical difference for Rebecca? How do the other characters love Rebecca?

10. What is the significance of Tyler's ending the tale with Poppy's hundredth birthday party? What is really being celebrated?

11. Is the ending of Back When We Were Grownups anticlimactic or satisfying? Is the reader mad at or frustrated with Rebecca, or proud of her? At what point does the reader come to "recognize" the "real" Rebecca?

12. Can Rebecca be described as a heroine? A martyr? Is she an ordinary or extraordinary woman? When she realizes that she has brought the Davitches her "joyousness . . . [which] she had struggled to acquire . . . Timidly, she experimented with a sneaking sense of achievement. Pride, even" (p. 246, lines 31-36, to p. 247, lines 1-4). Is this her greatest achievement? What are Rebecca's failures?

13. Is there significance to Rebecca's dream about the boy on the train (p. 21, lines 1-17)? Why does she realize that Peter was the boy on the train at the moment that she does (p. 273, lines 32-33)? Is Peter her chance at creating a new life or identity? Is Rebecca's dream a metaphor for her "identity crisis, " and, if so, what does it tell us about how seriously to take her "identity crisis"?

14. What does "The Open Arms" symbolize? Is the name of Rebecca's house intended to be ironic? How might the dynamic of the Davitch family be different if their family business were something other than running a party facility out of their home?

15. How does Tyler develop the characters in her novel? Compare how certain characters, such as Poppy and Rebecca's mother, speak a lot, and others, such as Peter, say very little. How much do we learn about some of the lesser characters by the few words they say in the novel? How is Rebecca's character developed differently than the other characters?

16. What is the meaning of the title (p. 188, lines 11-17)? What does it mean to be "grownup, " and can Rebecca or any of the other characters be described as "grownups"?

17. Does the concept of "family" defy definition in Back When We Were Grownups? Might the reader wonder how Rebecca came to be so accepting of all of the assorted people she welcomes easily into her family? Is she rebelling against her own mother's intolerance, or simply filling the void of her lonely childhood?

18. For Rebecca, "the most memorable of the five senses . . . was the sense of touch" (p. 34, lines 28-29). The sense of taste also figures prominently in the book, invoked by the descriptions of the food served to Rebecca (p. 64, lines 8-9; p. 131; and p. 205) and Biddy's gourmet foods. What does Tyler achieve stylistically by invoking these senses, or any of the other three senses?

19. How would you characterize the conversations Rebecca has with her grandchildren? What do they reveal about Rebecca? For example: Rebecca tells Merrie about her dream (p. 49, lines 13-14), and she discusses Poppy's birthday party with Peter (p. 117, lines 20-35).

20. What is the significance of the descriptions of the lives and families of the workmen who frequent The Open Arms? Are they merely humorous interludes, or is their placement in the novel significant to Rebecca's progress in her search for her identity?

21. Is Tyler's choice of the motives of Robert E. Lee as the topic of Rebecca's college research project intended to be humorous? Ironic? Is Rebecca's realization about Lee's motives analogous to her own self-recognition, and, if it does invite such comparison, what does that tell the reader about how to view Rebecca's identity crisis? (p. 232, lines 6-23)

22. How do Tyler's descriptions of Baltimore, the scenery during the drive from Baltimore to Macadam (pp. 127-28), and the town of Church Valley, Virginia (pp. 57-61), affect the atmosphere and mood of the novel? Do they reinforce any themes of the novel? Is Rebecca's life like the once elegant street of Baltimore that "never reverses" (p. 47, line 1)?

23. What are Will's good qualities? Does the reader sympathize with Will? Like him or dislike him? What happened at the family dinner that made Rebecca "end it" with Will that night (p. 218, lines 6-8)? Is Will in fact the one who was "superfluous"?

24. In several places, two characters' conversational paths converge. (For example, p. 64, lines 30-31.) Where else does Tyler use this style to convey how people talk to each other--but don't seem to really hear each other? Are these realistic conversations? What does it tell us about the way people communicate?

25. How does Tyler achieve a balance between the celebratory and the mournful in Back When We Were Grownups? Does one tone dominate the other?

26. Rebecca frequently feels that she is untrue to her own nature. (For example, p. 183, lines 14-15; p. 69, line 24; and p. 162, lines 25-) Is Rebecca really a "fraud" (p. 39, lines 28-29), or is this a common character trait?

27. Rebecca explains that she refers to Min Foo as her daughter but still refers to the other girls as stepdaughters because "acquiring" stepdaughters was the most profound change in her life (p. 234, lines 15-27). Are any of the other characters shaped by such profound events in their lives? Is Rebecca's a typical or understandable way people deal with such profound life changes, or does it say something unusual or significant about Rebecca and her own situation?

28. When Rebecca and Tina discuss Joe's poor driving, Rebecca recalls Joe's bout with depression and the reader glimpses a little crack in the veneer of Rebecca's perfect memories of Joe (p. 97). Dare we think that Joe's death was a suicide like his father's, and, if the thought occurs to us, doesn't it occur to Rebecca too? Might there have been more "bad" memories that Rebecca has blocked out?

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Back When We Were Grownups 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 67 reviews.
mandersj More than 1 year ago
"Back When We Were Grownups" is not a new book. It was first published in 2001, made into a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie in 2004 and just recently I happily came across it. This is Anne Tyler's 15th book, however I'd never heard of her. I'm glad I picked this book up because it really makes the reader think about what would have happened had they taken a different path with their lives than the one they ended up choosing. Rebecca is a 53-year-old mother of four daughters and many grandchildren. She runs an in-home business hosting and catering parties for people in the Baltimore area. She inherited this business from her late husband, and she's not sure she even enjoys the work any longer. She certainly realizes the house that she lives in, the same house where the parties are hosted, is getting more run down by the day and something will have to be done about it soon. When Rebecca starts having a recurring dream of spending time with a young blonde-haired boy whom she strongly feels is her son, she mentions it to one of her daughters. The daughter tells Rebecca that she must be dreaming about the other path her life could have taken, and it must have included having a son. This idea gets Rebecca thinking about the point in which her life made a dramatic turn. She was in college, dating her life-long sweetheart Will, when she attends a party. During the course of the evening, the party's host, Joe, comes up to her and asks if she's enjoying herself. Rebecca takes one look at Joe and an immediate bond forms. The fact that he is thirteen years her senior and has three young daughters, nor the fact that Rebecca has a man she plans on marrying back at school doesn't seem to matter to either of them. After a short courtship, Rebecca leaves Will abruptly and marries Joe just a few weeks later. However, Rebecca and Joe's marriage does not last long. He is killed in a car crash just six years after they marry and Rebecca is left with the party hosting business and, now, four young daughters. She manages to live life, carrying on the family business, eventually turning into the matriarch of a large, eclectic family, until one day she is fifty-three years old and dreaming of a whole other life she could have had. On a whim, she decides to hunt Will down and see where he is at in life. After a rocky start, the two decide to spend more and more time together. Although Rebecca is very busy with the business and busy trying to manage all the family members and their various needy issues, she decides she does have time to have a life of her own after so many years of only doing things for other people. The idea that everyone has a life they could have had, completely different than the one they have now is very interesting. It is an idea that I'm sure everyone can relate to. We have all made deliberate choices that have turned out great or not so great. But for Rebecca, getting a chance to go back and have a do-over is a cool idea that most people don't get to, or don't want to do.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have heard good things about this author. This is the first of her books I have read. Apparently I chose the wrong one.She must be 'famous' for her other works because this story was depressing and pointless. I have never seen more boring characters.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was my first Anne Tyler book, and will probably be my last. I finished it only because I can't stand to put a book down in the middle. The main character, Rebecca, was a whiny middle-aged woman who, instead of being grateful for what she had, was constantly wondering 'what if?' Now, I know we all wonder that at times, but enough is enough. When she does finally retrace her steps, leading her back to her high school sweetheart, nothing new happens, no epiphany of what could have been. Her step-daughters and her biological daughter are some of the most annoying characters that I have ever encountered. They are hateful, unappreciative, neurotic, and self-absorbed. This story left me with the feeling that I just wanted to smack them all and tell them to get a real life!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Maybe it's just that people in my age range can't relate w/the mid-life crisis 'drama' staged in this novel. While it flows well, it was boring. Nothing of substance seems to happen at all, no suspense, no thrills, no whitty banter. At best, it showed the difficulties of being broken up w/twice, heartache, uncomfortable situations. Yes, matriachs deserve appreciation for their efforts in maintaining some form of family harmony, but good god, could it be more mundane????? I recommend to skip it altogether. Sorry Anne, better luck next time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've never been much of an Anne Tyler fan, but they keep assigning her books in reading groups. Except for the first and last chapter, this is the most interesting Tyler work that I've read so far. The last chapter, however left me so disappointed that I wondered what the point was. [The story is amply recapped in other places, so I won't repeat it.] The first chapter reminded me of 'Can this marriage be saved?'. I kept imagining a counselor talking to the family members about the need to discuss expectations and what they really wanted and needed from one another. It was certainly easy to see why finding oneself with such a collection of unpleasant relatives would make Rebecca wonder where she went wrong. I was sympathetic to her attempts to figure out how else things might have gone and might yet go. I found much of this very true and funny and read it with great interest. Unfortunately, the ending was disappointing. Tyler left a lot of ends hanging; did she intend this to be a clever expression of ambivalence or was it just sloppy writing? Rebecca has by no means exhausted her possibilities, but I don't think we are to believe that she will continue to pursue them. I THINK that the end was supposed to be a dissolution of the tensions that had driven Rebecca, but really, nothing has been resolved. It reminds me of a television episode where one is supposed to believe that three minutes of discussion reconciles thirty years of misunderstanding and they lived happily ever after.
sarahlouise on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This audio is not one to listen to again and again. I'll probably pick up the book one of these days, though. Blair Brown is a great reader, but it's a melancholy story. I remember listening to this as I turned the bend on Elfinwild onto Rte 8 in Shaler.
BonnieJune54 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I liked the main character. She's my age, so I relate to the idea of looking around and wondering how my life became what it is. I think Anne Tyler novels are best appreciated if you only read one every years.
moonshineandrosefire on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
At 53, Rebecca Davitch has discovered she has become "the wrong person". No longer the serene young lady she was at 20, she has become family caretaker and cheerleader and dresses rather frumpily in her opinion. So she decides to do something about it. Now a mother, grandmother and proprietor of the family business, Rebecca decides to go back to her "roots" - her hometown in Virginia. She locates her old boyfriend whom she jilted and renews her intellectual interests. As Rebecca tries to recapture a life that might have been, the reader is shown the life that was for Rebecca at 20 years old. I loved this book - the characters really draw you in. If I had one complaint, it would be that it was a little confusing to keep all the characters straight. I give this book an A+!
ruthseeley on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of my favourite Anne Tyler novels. Sort of a shorter, female, better written version of Thomas Wolfe's You Can't Go Home Again thematically. Don't want to spoil the plot. But I will say that in a supreme synergistic irony, I read the book just as I too was re-enacting an adolescent/early adult romance rerun. With very similar results, I must say.
arouse77 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
hazy indistinct snapshot of a woman in the midst of family chaos. no real sympathy for this heroine emerges. the fact that she lets her entire brood trample all over her without the least regard tends to evoke the same tendency in me as a reader. i was plowing through without really paying attention and mainly came away feeling ambivilent about the experience as a whole.
kellynasdeo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I hated this book. It felt contrived with the ridiculous names of the characters. I felt like I was reading something written by a 12 year old.
carka on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
53-year-old Rebecca thinks she turns out to be someone she's not. Through the book, she thinks she was "miscast" the day she met her husband.
kppresent on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
About a 53 year old woman who has an instant family and her activities with this famly. I thought it would be a book about the woman herself but it turned out to be more of the family surrounding the woman than about her. I didn't like it very much.
Dottiehaase on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Rebecca Davitch realizes that she has become the "wrong person." No longer the "serene and dignified young woman" she was at 20, at 53 Rebecca finds she has become family caretaker and cheerleader, a woman with a "style of dress edging dangerously close to Bag Lady." So she tries to do something about it. In the midst of her busy life as mother, grandmother and proprietor of the family business, the Open Arms (she hosts parties in the family's old Baltimore row house), Rebecca attempts to pick up the life she was leading before she married, back when she felt grownup. She visits her hometown in Virginia, locates the boyfriend she jilted and renews her intellectual interests. But as Rebecca ponders the life-that-might-have-been, the reader learns about the life-that-was. At 20, she left college and abandoned her high school sweetheart to marry a man who already had a large family to support. A year later, she had a baby of her own; five years later, her husband died in an auto accident, and she was left to raise four daughters, tend to her aging uncle-in-law and support them all. And a difficult lot they are, seldom crediting Rebecca for holding her rangy family together a family charming in their dysfunction. And much as one feels for Rebecca, much as one wants her to find love, it's difficult to imagine her leaving or upsetting the family order. Late in the novel, Rebecca observes that her younger self had wanted to believe "that there were grander motivations in history than mere family and friends, mere domestic happenstance." As Rebecca views a video of the family¿s early life, she realizes that she was happy and is left to continue her present life including the caring of a new grandchild.
sturlington on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When I told my father I had just finished reading an Anne Tyler novel, he described exactly the plot without even knowing which title I had read: It was set in Baltimore, about a large, dysfunctional family with some eccentric quirks, and not very much happens. I realized that this was not only an apt summary of BWWWG but also every Tyler novel I have ever read. There are those writers who write one book and know they are done, and then there are those who write the same book over and over but never realize it.
camelliacorner on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Anne captures the intensity and flavors of relationships among families, the separate conversations, the short tiffs and arguments, the happy times, the comings and goings of the members and the doubts and thoughts about where life is heading. I was unsure of the ending, it felt very unsatisfying and left a hole in the story. Had she really moved on in her life or was she still where she had started at the beginning of the novel. Will, the boyfriend from rebecca's teenage years served as a realization that back to the past was not an option, but was the future any brighter. Wa there any satisfaction with here she had eneded up?
dickmanikowski on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I've read enough Anne Tyler novels that I almost believe I lived in Baltimore in a previous life. As always, this one is totally captivating with unbelievably fleshed-out characters.
whirled on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Perhaps you need to be middle-aged to really get the full impact of Back When We Were Grownups. I did feel somewhat sympathetic towards the protagonist, Rebecca Davitch, who begins to question the years she has spent as a defacto matriarch, carer and general dogsbody for her long-dead husband's family. But compared to Tyler's other families, the Davitchs seemed a bit sketchy and dull.
aprille on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. It grapples with the difference between who you believe yourself to be and the self you present to others, and makes a strong case that the self you present (through your actions) is actually more real. The main character perceives herself as a shy, intelligent studious girl, who married and took on a step-family who expected her to be constantly cheerful, outgoing and socially adept. After she's widowed and her family is grown, she needs to decide if that who she wants to continue to be, or if she wants to change.My favorite parts of this book were her interior dialogs about how much effort it requires to cheerfully take care of other people, and listen, and appreciate them, and yet how worthwhile it is to do it.
writestuff on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Anne Tyler has her finger on the pulse of humanity. She creates unforgettable characters that live on long after the book is finished. In this novel, Rebecca questions who she has become and how her life might have been different had she chosen a different fork in the road. As a young widow who has now grown comfortably into middle age, Rebecca is the heart and soul of her extended family, the Davitches; and becomes the heart and soul of the novel. Her journey to "the fork in the road" and back will make you laugh and cry at the same time. Wonderful book.
co_coyote on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book starts up with this first line: Once upon a time, there was a woman who discovered she had turned into the wrong person. A book that starts like that, is a book you want to read. I've spent the week chauffeuring my father back and forth to cancer treatments, and I've heard a lot of family stories. This wonderfully quirky book is pure Anne Tyler, and one of my favorites. This must be the third time I've read it because it always puts my family, and my role in the family, back into perspective for me. A wonderful book, and a must read for anyone over the age of 50.
mzonderm on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I go so hot-and-cold on Anne Tyler's books. This one, I must confess, left me feeling mostly cold. The dialogue was great, but the book didn't have much more to offer. The main character, was likable, but I didn't really care much about what happened to her, and I got annoyed by the number of times she changed her mind about how she felt and what she wanted. I think I was annoyed not because she changed her mind so much, per se, but because Tyler doesn't explain the reasons behind the changes very much, which left me frustrated.
DSlongwhite on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sandy gave me this book for my birthday and I loved it. At the age of 53, Rebecca Davitch discovers she has become the wrong person. She married Joe Davitch at the age of 19. He had three young daughters. Their mother had walked out seeking a career as a singer. Within a few years, Joe died in a car accident and Rebecca is left to raise the girls and care for her husband's uncle.She cares for this people by continuing to run the business her mother-in-law started and then her husband ran - The Open Arms. It is a business that hosts parties. They own an old home in Baltimore and open the rooms for parties. Rebecca decides to contact her old boyfriend, Will Allenby. She had know Will her whole life and everyone assumed they would get married.
mhgatti on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Anne Tyler has officially become my sure-fire go-to novelist. If I go into the library and don¿t find anything interesting on the ¿New Arrivals¿ wall, I know I can¿t go wrong picking up one of Tyler¿s novels. Lucky for me my branch has plenty of her books.That¿s not to say that Tyler¿s writing is predictable. Yeah, most likely the book is going to center on an introspective member of a Baltimore family, but from there her books have all gone in different directions. The direction that 2001¿s Back When We Were Grownups takes is asking, ¿What if?¿Rebecca Davitch is a fifty-something ¿professional party-thrower¿ whose life has become bogged down with the problems of grown children and stepchildren, grandchildren and step-grandchildren (maybe even a step-step-grandchild?), and an aging brother- and uncle-in-law. All the while having to keep up the cheery persona expected of someone who throws parties for a living.But what if Rebecca hadn¿t dropped her boring-but-steady college beau from the good side of town for the older and more blue-collar Joe and his three daughters from his first marriage? Back then Joe¿s extended family - and the catering service they ran out of their townhouse - seemed like the more interesting future. Shortly after having their first kid together, though, Joe is killed in a car accident and forces Rebecca to take on a family, a business, and an outgoing personality that she¿s now not sure ever really fit her. What if she was never meant for this life? What if she could go back and pick the other guy?This isn¿t some complicated alternate-universe Sliding Doors/Star Trek sci-fi thing. In fact the story isn¿t very complicated at all. Tyler gently and quietly waltzes through this tale of regret and possible reinvention. Life - and its joys, demands, and traditions - continues as usual, so Rebecca¿s looking back happens as it would in real life ¿ mainly when she has time for it.Tyler¿s family storytelling is so good that the fact that so many pages are spent on daily events doesn¿t hurt the novel. The woman who won the Pulitzer for Breathing Lessons - which took place entirely during a weekend car ride - doesn¿t need to beat you over the head with the plot, instead preferring to let it seep into the everyday.That said, this was probably the Tyler novel I least enjoyed (and all that means is that it would only get four stars from me instead of a full five). The story introduces so many peculiar family members that it sometimes is hard to remember what peculiarities goes with which child. And while I don¿t think a good novel has to tie up every little loose end, this book, more than any other of Tyler¿s I¿ve read, seems to end a few pages short.These are minor complaints, though. Nothing that would stop me from picking up yet another Tyler book the next time I¿m in need of a sure-fire winner of a novel.
suejonesjohnson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I am a big Anne Tyler fan and this book is full of Typical Tyler quirky characters and unconventional family members, told with pathos and tenderness.