Back When We Were Grownups

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Random House Publishing Group, Jul 31, 2001 - Fiction - 273 pages
115 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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Excellent characterization as usual for Tyler - Goodreads
Didn't find that the book had a satisfying ending. - Goodreads
A page turner from start to finish. - Goodreads
I hate writing a bad review, so I'll stop now. - Goodreads
And the ending was unsatisfying. - Goodreads
The author is a terrible writer. - Goodreads

Review: Back When We Were Grownups

User Review  - Nancy - Goodreads

Since I love Anne Tyler's writing, it was no surprise that I also loved this book. The ending was not what I expected and I loved the characters, especially Poppy. Read full review

Review: Back When We Were Grownups

User Review  - Joy H. - Goodreads

Added 1/19/09 I FINALLY borrowed this book (published in 2001) from the library around January 2015! It's slow-going for me because I don't especially like this genre, a contemporary woman's life with ... Read full review

All 94 reviews »

Selected pages


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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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