Back When We Were Grownups by Anne Tyler

Back When We Were Grownups by Anne Tyler

First line: One upon a time there was a woman who discovered she had turned into the wrong person.

The book in one sentence: Rebecca Davitch, widowed young is left to take care of a big family, feels like she "fell" into her life and her "What if's" turn out with a surprisingly simple answer.

Who would you recommend it to: Anyone who enjoys a thinking novel, or loves highly nuanced characters. Those who like chicklit (with a heavy dose of reality).

OK bits: I enjoyed the entire premise of the book, with Rebecca trying to figure out: "How on earth did I get like this? How? How did I become this person who's not really me?"

The characters are highly credible (the step-daughters are generally unlikable people) as are the dynamics within this large extended family. I did like the character of forgetful 100 year-old Poppy. I followed with bated breath the rekindling of romance (or what could-have-been) with Rebecca's first love Will Allenby.

That Rebecca is a "professional" party hostess was a nice twist. I actually looked forward to her little rhyming toasts which are scattered throughout.

Who would have thought that such trivial things could be so interesting and profound? I could relate to Rebecca's realizations as the book progressed. The small nuggets of wisdom may seem a little trite, but they sure hit home.

Boring bits: I initially balked at the cutesy names - Bek, Biddy, Nono, Min Foo, Poppy - are these people, or pets? Once I got over that, I was in love with this book. 

Verdict: Don't we all think that the life-that-could-have-been is better than what we have? Need a reality check? Read this book and be amazed at Tyler's wonderful portrait of real life.

I like these phrases: Beck's unrelenting jollity (p. 270) , palindromic birthday (p. 272)

Random quote:
There is no true life. 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.

{Originally here.}

No comments

Post a Comment

© guiltless readingMaira Gall