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Back When We Were Grownups: A Novel [Hardcover]

Anne Tyler
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (182 customer reviews)

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't stop now!! June 10 2002
This was my first Anne Tyler book - now I'm hooked. I think everyone can relate to this character in one way or another. This book really looked at the split in the road of life and I loved the way her character stayed independent in the end.
I've now passed this book to two other readers and everyone loves it. We are now on our fourth book in our "Anne Tyler Book Club". If you liked this one you will love another one of her books - Accidental Tourist. You just can't put it down!
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5.0 out of 5 stars I really enjoyed it. June 9 2002
At first, I was afraid there were too many characters and that I would not be able to remember who was who. But instead, I became to know each member of Rebecca's family, and extended family, and enjoyed each and every one. I was truly sorry when I had finished the book because I feel like I came to know Rebecca, and her family, and will miss them.
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3.0 out of 5 stars An Awful Lot of Promotion June 9 2002
Anne Tyler had quite a bit of promotion for this book. Considering the hype and readers group info I expected a gem. Not really what happened!!
Rebecca [main character] lost her husband and proceeded to second guess every major decision she had made in the past. I expected dramatic changes, breathtaking life changing moves, and incidents of monumental emotional distress.
What really happened was a book with a somewhat shallow plot and partially developed characters. The idea was great. When I read the reviews I was sure that Anne Tyler would take her main character and have her experience events that we as common readers would say, "Wow, if only I had thought of that" but what she did was had her very plain Rebecca make minor adjustments creating very little change.
Disappointing but entertaining.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but confusing June 4 2002
I liked this book a lot. I liked how Rebecca came to a realization in her life that maybe she wasn't who she thought she was. Maybe her entire reality at this point in her life was based on a fiction? This book explores both her reality and her fiction. In this book, the author allows all the questions people have about their existence come to the front to be dealt with--maybe not answered, but at least dealt with.
Major drawbacks in the book for me were the people's names. They were just a little too much. About the only people I could keep track of were the kids. I thought about keeping them straight on paper, but the book is too short for that.
This is a good book, and I look forward to reading more books by Ms. Tyler.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Back When We Were GrownUps June 2 2002
By A Customer
Fantastic, well-written page turner that I'd highly recommend. If I had a criticism, it's that the main love story in this book remains unresolved -- and the writing is weak around that one area. Yet it's a terrific story that stays with you long after you've finished the book. Buy it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Turned Me into a Tyler Fan June 1 2002
Reading this book kicked off a two-week reading binge of every Anne Tyler book I could find in the local library. I'd tried to read The Accidental Tourist when I was in my twenties, and dismissed it as dry. Back When We Were Grownups, however, bursts with the juice of messy real-life characters in messy real-life situations. The lure of the road not taken pales beside Rebecca's noisy crowded life, and the humor and perspective she brings to her observations more than compensate for the longing she feels for her younger (true?) self.
I was so absorbed in the story I didn't have time to evaluate the questions Tyler raises of how identity is formed and what the meaning of one's life is when one is peering through the eyes of a stranger. In retrospect, however, these questions, how they are raised and how they are answered, linger in my mind in a satisfying echo to what was the most satisfying read I've had in a long time.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Well written and boring May 23 2002
Rebecca, 53, looks back at her life and wonders over the course it has taken. She has 4 wonderful daughters, 7 grandchildren, a mother, an aunt, and an elderly person she lives with and takes care of. Her life has not always been easy, her loving husband died after 6 years of marriage, her daughters don't always listen to her. But she manages, runs her own business and tries to keep the family together.
But I am not yet old! I am 32. I don't want to look back. I want to look forward. I don't want to think 'well, life has its ups and downs and you just have to enjoy those little rays of sun'. I want to live life to the max, have big expectations and huge dissapointments.
Maybe I have to try this book again in twenty years.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not one of Anne's best May 13 2002
I have read and own every one of Anne Tyler's books and usually I love them. I didn't hate this book, but it certainly was not one of her best. I read several of the other reviews on it and I have to echo the complaint of the ridiculous choice of names for the characters. The characters were never quite fully developed, yet it still was an enjoyable read. But for a real treat try Anne's "Dinner At The Homesick Resturant" or some of her other books. She really is a wonderful writer with keen insight on human nature and makes us all laugh at ourselves and not take our selves so seriously.
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