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Anywhere but Here Paperback – Jan 15 1992

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Film tie-in edition edition (Jan. 15 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679737383
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679737384
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 2.4 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 431 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #360,826 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Amazon

"Strangers always love my mother," Ann August tells us at the start of Anywhere But Here. "And even if you hate her, can't stand her, even if she's ruining your life, there's something about her, some romance, some power. She's absolutely herself. No matter how hard you try, you'll never get to her. And when she dies, the world will be flat, too simple, reasonable, fair." Indeed, over the course of the dozen or so years chronicled in Mona Simpson's first novel, Ann and everyone else related to the charming, delusional Adele learn this the hard way. Ann does hate her at times; Adele does indeed come pretty close to ruining Ann's life on numerous occasions, or at least scarring it, and yet, ultimately, it isn't possible not to love her. As Ann puts it: "The thing about my mother and me is that when we get along we're just the same."

This is a woman who uproots her child from Wisconsin and moves to Los Angeles, leaving behind a dull husband (not Ann's father--who wandered off long ago but makes appearances here in memories), under the premise that life will be beautiful and Ann will become a famous television star. But her lifelong dream and goal ("It was our secret, a nighttime whispered promise" turns out, like so many things in the Augusts' lives, to be lackluster when it becomes reality. Adele merely feeds on fantasy and drags her daughter along.

Nevertheless, it's hard not to worship her. We hear from her mother, her sister, from Ann, and finally from Adele herself, and no matter how she's used people, what trouble she's gotten into, or what lies she's told--and there are plenty of all three--a certain amount of awe always remains. When we come upon Ann's proclamation that "it's always the people like my mother, who start the noise and bang things, who make you feel the worst; they are the ones who get your love." It's startling to realize how heartily we agree with her. Anywhere But Here gives truth to this statement in a way that few books ever have. It's dense with misery and amazement all tangled together--a realistic and thus rare portrait of love. --Melanie Rehak

From Publishers Weekly

Ann, the narrator of this engaging look at mother-daughter relationships, is uprooted from Bay City, Wis., by her mother, Adele, so that she can become a child star in Los Angeles. PW praised Simpson for her "grasp of human relationships and sheer readability."
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

By A Customer on Dec 2 2003
Format: Paperback
I originally picked up this book after hearing it compared to Danzy Senna's superb novel "Caucasia," and found "Anywhere But Here" a huge disappointment. I agree with other reviewers who feel the book should have undergone a massive edit/rewrite before publication. There is some good beginning stuff here; some good raw material and ideas...BUT. "Anywhere But Here" lacks a cohesive plot and the characters are flat and dry. Ann, the daughter -- who narrates the bulk of the book -- is particularly dull and uninteresting. No causes, consequences, or conclusions arise from any of the anecdotes she tells. Instead they read as nothing more than a grocery list of facts: "We sat in the car." "I got a role on a TV show." "I took naked pictures of my classmates." The reader leaves this book hungry, disturbed...and bored. I kept waiting for it to get better, and for something to HAPPEN, but alas, nothing ever did. For a truly great read and an examination of a strange-tense-intriguing mother-daughter relationship, skip this one and try "Caucasia" instead.
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Format: Paperback
Mona Simpson's book, Anywhere But Here is a well written and well crafted fictional novel about a mother and daughter relationship. Adele August, mother of Ann, is a high spirited woman who doesn't fit the profile of a mom. She yearns for a life in California, to roam the easy street among actors and actresses. Adele even wants to have her own daughter become a star as well. She pushes Ann towards a direction she thinks will be great for her, wanting to give her daughter a life she didn't have. She forces Ann to become the adult and to be the one to think logically.
Anywhere but Here is a good novel, but it lacks a solid plot. The flashbacks to the grandmother and the aunt throw off the flow of the story and the memories aren't properly organized. Although the vocabulary and sentence structure are simple, the reader really needs to pay close attention to each word in order to understand what is going on. The scenes change rapidly between past and present, and a lot of the setting switch over from house to car to hotel as well.
I liked the book, but it wasn't the best I have read. I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone that likes action or suspense or any kind of a major conflict. Overall, the book needed a more developed plot to help the story flow.
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By Tee on Oct. 11 2002
Format: Paperback
Set in modern times, Mona Simpson's fictional book Anywhere But Here takes us through a mother-daughter relationship full of disagreements and misunderstandings. Adele, Anne's mother, pressures Anne to look beautiful and thin so that she can become a notorious movie star in Hollywood. Even though Adele has high aspirations for Anne, she can't quite seem to live teh life that she has in mind. She is consistently trying to find "the perfect father" for Anne but comes up short after many different dates. Adele finally decides to take Anne to California and eagerly searches for movie shoots and jobs for her daughter. This whole ordeal of becoming famous is seen throughout the book but in the end Anne is just a normal child and her mother is left wondering why her idea of Anne becoming famous never was fulfilled. Even though the plot is intriquing, it is quite drawn out. The sentences flow well with one another and are quite poetic and colloquial. But the prolonged story makes the whole readability of the story difficult. While reading through the book, we as readers are left wondering why some scenes are even inserted. Many of the scenes are distracting as well as unnecessary. Mona Simpson's writing style also affects the overall readability of Anywhere But Here. Her chapters jump from character to character, letting us see the different views of each of the characters on specific events. However, most of the chapters are seen through Anne's unemotional viewpoint. Carol, Adele's sister, also plays part in a few of the chapters, describing Adele's past life and attempting to demonstrate to us as readers why Adele acts in the manner in which she does. Adele has one chapter in the end which is, unlike Anne's, full of emotion.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
"Anywhere But Here", is a novel about a mother and daughter who struggle though life and their relationship.
There are many different settings the book moves throughout; including Bay City, Wisconsin, Egypt, Las Vegas, and California.
The two main characters are Adele, the mother in the story, and Anne the daughter. Other characters found throughout the novel include; Hisham, Anne's father, Lillian, her grandmother, Carol, her aunt and, Ted her stepfather.
The book was an easy read because Mona Simpson uses average sentence structure and colloquial vocabulary. The vocabulary is mainly colloquial because most of the writing is the equivalent to a journal or diary. The only bad part about the book was its long-windedness. Simpson is a very detailed writer and because of that the book is quite lengthy. Simpson divides the book in an unusual manner; each section has a different character speaking about past and present experiences. There are chapters written by Anne, Adele, Lillian, and Carol.
Overall the book was a creatively written masterpiece, but it was just a bit too overwritten for my taste.
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