Back When We Were Grownups Author:Anne Tyler 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 outgiving? — Certainly tha... more »t’s how Joe Davitch she her 30-some years ago. And that’s why this large-spirited older man, a divorcee 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 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.« 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.
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.
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 enjoyed listening to the life of Rebecca and the noisy, rowdy, difficult members of the Davitch family. When Rebecca marries Joseph Davitch, she becomes the stepmother of his three kids, then has a daughter of her own. Her husband dies in a car crash, after which yet more Davitches come to live with her. Somehow, Rebecca--in the midst of her own troubles--holds it all together, but, she begins to suspect, at the cost of her own self.