Anywhere but Here Paperback – Jan 15 1992
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"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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
Most recent customer reviews
Good book. In a good state. Good price. Thank you very much.Published 16 months ago by Eric Girardeau
I had to read a book for English 11 and this was the book I chose. I had a semester to read it and finished it the last week of the semester because it was so hard to read. Read morePublished on May 25 2004 by Lauren
In Mona Simpson's "Anywhere But Here", she shows a young girl's life as she grows up with her self-obsessed mother. Read morePublished on Feb. 22 2004 by Tori
the book anywhere but here shows a mother who is capricious and unfulfilled trying to find a life for her daughter which she didn't have for herself. Read morePublished on Jan. 7 2004
Told by Ann August, a teenager whose mother lives in a fantasy world of better things and wants those better things for real for her daughter, Anywhere but Here is a great... Read morePublished on June 24 2003 by Peggy Vincent
Maybe my expectations were to high about Anywhere But Here, but in the end, I thought the novel was just nice. Read morePublished on Sept. 10 2002 by Alysson Oliveira
I found this to be one of the most enjoyable books I have ever read...Being a kid myself, I found it easy to relate to one of the main characters, Ann August. Read morePublished on July 12 2002 by Anonymous Book Reviewer
I found this to be one of the most touching books I have ever read. As read, I found myself in the shoes of the narrator, feeling all of her ups and downs as they came. Read morePublished on July 10 2002