Back When We Were Grownups

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Jul 31, 2001 - Fiction - 304 pages
127 Reviews
BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Anne Tyler's The Beginner's Goodbye.


"Once upon a time, there was a woman who discovered that she had turned into the wrong person." So Anne Tyler opens this irresistible new novel.

The woman is Rebecca Davitch, a fifty-three-year-old grandmother. Is she an impostor in her own life? she asks herself. Is it indeed her own life? Or is it someone else’s?

On the surface, Beck, as she is known to the Davitch clan, is outgoing, joyous, a natural celebrator. Giving parties is, after all, her vocation—something she slipped into even before finishing college, when Joe Davitch spotted her at an engagement party in his family’s crumbling nineteenth-century Baltimore row house, where giving parties was the family business. What caught his fancy was that she seemed to be having such a wonderful time. Soon this large-spirited older man, a divorcÚ with three little girls, swept her into his orbit, and 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 of The Open Arms.

Now, some thirty years later, after presiding over a disastrous family picnic, Rebecca is caught un-awares by the question of who she really is. How she answers it—how she tries to recover her girlhood self, that dignified grownup she had once been—is the story told in this beguiling, funny, and deeply moving novel.

As always with Anne Tyler’s novels, once we enter her world it is hard to leave. But in Back When We Were Grownups she so sharpens our perceptions and awakens so many untapped feelings that we come away not only refreshed and delighted, but also infinitely wiser.
 

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User Review  - lilibrarian - LibraryThing

Rebecca Davitch married young to an older man with three daughters. When he died 6 years later, she took over the family business of hosting parties. Now the 3 stepdaughters and her daughter are grown ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - cherilove - LibraryThing

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this, but after the ending, was disappointed that I had spent so much time with with a group of people who were almost all unpleasant or unhappy. Read full review

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Selected pages

Contents

I
1
II
19
III
53
IV
80
V
112
VI
136
VII
162
VIII
183
IX
208
X
226
XI
246
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About the author (2001)

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.

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