Back When We Were Grownups Author:Anne Tyler 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... more » 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 divorce 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.« less
I love to read, but I couldn't get past the first chapter in this book. The storyline was very contrived, it felt like I was reading something written by a 12 year old girl. And as shallow as this may sound, the main characters ridiculous names (NoNo, Patch, Jeep, Biddy, Min Foo, Poppy? Come ON, is this a children's book?!) were what finally made me say "enough" and return this book to the library. Thank goodness it was only borrowed.
On the New York Times Bestseller list. I enjoyed this book very much. It's about a woman in her 50's coming to terms with the fact that over the years, she has lived more and more of her life for others, and has no life of her own. How she discovers this and how she goes about changing the situation is very well written by Anne Tyler.
This is one of Tylers better books. The main character is more fully developed as the book unfolds, and it is hard to find a likeable protagonist that is not young, sexy, exciting. Tyler provides a likeable heroine that is middle aged, not particularly beautiful,over weight and wonders what the road not taken would have been like. I think most of her books are good reads but forgetable. This one is the exception.
I read a recent newspaper article that claimed Tyler's book has one of the best opening lines, and I agree: "Once upon a time, there was a woman who discovered she had turned into the wrong person." This is a line that draws you into the book and into the main character, Rebecca Davitch, a woman in mid-life who begins to question her life's choices and who attempts to recapture some of what was "lost." This is an interesting story about understanding the difference between being content with one's life and being complacent.