corner corner Back When We Were Grownups: A Novel


Back When We Were Grownups: A Novel
by Anne Tyler | Literature & Fiction
Registered by bookchick88 of Ravenna, Ohio USA on 5/17/2009
Average 5 star rating by BookCrossing Members 

status (set by eressea): to be read

5 journalers for this copy...

Journal Entry 1 by bookchick88 from Ravenna, Ohio USA on Sunday, May 17, 2009

This book has not been rated.

Registering among 65 books taken from the annual library fair for registration and rabck/trade/release. :) 

Journal Entry 2 by bookchick88 from Ravenna, Ohio USA on Wednesday, July 08, 2009

This book has not been rated.

"Once upon a time, there was a woman who discovered that she had turned into the wrong person." So Anne Tyler opens this irresistible new novel.

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 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 divorcé 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.

As always with Anne Tyler’s novels, once we enter her world it is hard to leave. But in Back When We Were Grownups she so sharpens our perceptions and awakens so many untapped feelings that we come away not only refreshed and delighted, but also infinitely wiser.

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I've decided to turn this into a bookring. Hopefully it will be promising. It's been quite some time since I last started a bookring, so I hope those of you who join are genuinely interested in reading this book. I could use some good reviews on some of my books... I miss those entry alerts terribly. ;)


They've changed a bit since I started rings, probably because I'm older and smarter. ;)

1. Journal upon receipt, and then again once you've finished reading, and then again when sending along to the next participant.

2. Please be honest, and put a thoughtful journal entry about the book when you've finished it. I can tell when someone is just trying to get the book moving and doesn't honestly state how they feel.

3. Try not to keep the book for too long. I've noticed when that is done the interest of the other members dulls and they often ask to be removed from the list. No longer than three months, tops.

4. Please be considerate to the book. Us members here on BC love our books and cherish them, please remember that with this one. :)

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1. Insert a postcard, or send along something interesting with the book. It can have to do with you, the book, or something interesting that happened when you were reading the book somewhere.

2. Take a picture of you with the book somewhere neat, and post it in a journal entry. (See mine at the end of this entry!)

3. Leave a fun note somewhere in the book for the next participant to find.

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Remember, bookrings are about sharing the joy and love of a good book. So please try to show that through your entries. Nothing makes the previous readers smile more than an honest opinion and a well thought out entry. It doesn't have to be genius, it could just be a picture, but still, it'll make us all smile. :)


1. dabercro (UT, USA)
2. Moeshell (TX, USA)
3. JudySlump612 (MN, USA)
4. bananabrianna (Canada)

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Me with the book (:

Journal Entry 3 by bookchick88 at Kingsville, Ohio USA on Friday, September 18, 2009

This book has not been rated.

Released 8 yrs ago (9/21/2009 UTC) at Kingsville, Ohio USA



Releasing, starting the ring. :) 

Journal Entry 4 by dabercro from Clinton, Utah USA on Monday, October 05, 2009

This book has not been rated.

Picked this up at the post office today with the other mail that had accumulated while I was away. Will try to get to this soon as I have other rings/rays. 

Journal Entry 5 by dabercro from Clinton, Utah USA on Wednesday, October 14, 2009

8 out of 10

It took a little time to sort out all the characters with their odd names and their relaltionship to each other. I enjoyed the story and the family dynamics. Being at the same point in my life as Rebecca, I could relate to some of her feelings. The "what ifs". Reflecting back on the life changing choices made and wondering how her life would be today if she had made different choices. I think that Rebecca came to the realization that you can "never go back". Her life wouldn't have been as she has imagined if she had made a different choice. 

Journal Entry 6 by dabercro at -- BookRing, -- By post or by hand/ in person -- USA on Wednesday, October 14, 2009

This book has not been rated.

Released 8 yrs ago (10/14/2009 UTC) at -- BookRing, -- By post or by hand/ in person -- USA



Sending to the next participant, Moeshell, in TX. 

Journal Entry 7 by Moeshell from Richardson, Texas USA on Wednesday, October 21, 2009

This book has not been rated.

Receive the book in the mail yesterday and started reading the first couple of pages. dabercro is right, there are so many characters!! Maybe I'll start a family tree to keep up with it all :) 

Journal Entry 8 by Moeshell from Richardson, Texas USA on Wednesday, November 04, 2009

5 out of 10

I really wanted to like this book...but I did not. It seems that nothing ever happened. I don’t think I could tell you the climax of the book. This just never grabbed me and pulled me in. I wasn't too fond of the Rebecca character. She was so lukewarm to me, wanted one thing one day and something different the next day. And I hated the way the author used parentheses every other page. Maybe I am just picky. I did fall in love with the Poppy character. He lives life to the sweetest. I know somewhere in this book there were themes of loneliness and regret and destiny but I was too bored to pay attention.

Haven't sent out just yet, but will be on the way to JudySlump612 by Friday, my post office day :)


Me in the Mother's Room at work, where I spent most of the time reading this book.


Journal Entry 9 by Moeshell at Minneapolis, Minnesota USA on Friday, November 06, 2009

This book has not been rated.

Released 8 yrs ago (11/6/2009 UTC) at Minneapolis, Minnesota USA



Book heading your way Judy!! 

Journal Entry 10 by wingJudySlump612wing from Minneapolis, Minnesota USA on Sunday, November 15, 2009

This book has not been rated.

Book arrived safely in Minneapolis. I, however, am aboard Holland America's MS Zaandam looking from the ship's library at the surf and hills of Maui. Disgusting of me, yes I know. Luckily the library does have a copy of the book, so I can start reading it now, and then pass the bookring copy on quickly to bananabrianna. 

Journal Entry 11 by wingJudySlump612wing from Minneapolis, Minnesota USA on Monday, January 04, 2010

2 out of 10

Sorry to have held up the book for so long, and sorry not to include a photo. I'm just too old, stupid and busy to figure out that whole scanning pictures bit. I did include a postcard of a young hula dancer, as a souvenir of reading the book while on a Hawaii cruise.

This book really infuriated me. As it opens we see the widowed main character, Rebecca, taking charge of making sure that everyone (else) has a good time at a family picnic. And here I had two instant reactions: first, I was reminded of another Anne Tyler book I'd read, Breathing Lessons, because that's basically what the main character of that book, Maggie, always does, with results ranging from embarrassing to disastrous. Second, we've just lost the male half of the human race here. Can you imagine any man reading a book with the assumption that he should identify with a character who feels responsible for other people's emotional well being? He would recoil, with either repugnance or complete incomprehension.

Anyway, that is Rebecca's approach to social gatherings. She has managed to find the perfect, and perhaps only possible, career for herself: organizing and hosting parties. And despite being surrounded by one of the most annoying families outside of Dickens, she seems happy.

But is she? The first chapter ends with her asking, "How did I get to be this person who's not really me?" Further quotes: "She was tired of acting nicer than her true self. Wouldn't it come as a relief to be alone, finally!" "But she dreaded the socializing. All that merriment! She would have to be so cheery!"

So she looks up her old college sweetheart, Will, in search of the placid road not taken. And here Tyler really stacks the deck: Will is SO stable he fixes a big batch of chili every week and divides the leftovers into containers for supper every night for the rest of the week. Yep, every week. Is there anybody in the world who would stay happily with someone like this? Least of all Rebecca! How could it possibly take her over a hundred pages to figure that out?

Okay, I'm done with my rant now. Suffice it that I found both the plot and the characters unrealistic and frustrating. This book is just not for me, and thanks to the magic of Book Crossing I can now pass it on to a more appreciative reader. 

Journal Entry 12 by wingJudySlump612wing at RABCK, RABCK -- Controlled Releases on Monday, January 25, 2010

This book has not been rated.

Released 8 yrs ago (1/25/2010 UTC) at RABCK, RABCK -- Controlled Releases



Since bananabrianna received another copy of the book and dropped out of the ring, bookchick88 asked me to release it as I saw fit. This was on eressea's wish list, and from her bookshelf she seems like the kind of person who deserves a RABCK. Enjoy! 

Journal Entry 13 by eressea from Madison, Wisconsin USA on Sunday, February 07, 2010

This book has not been rated.

Sorry, got this last week, but didn't realize it. My roommate threw it on top of a bunch of stuff on my desk thinking I would see it. I'm really excited to read it! 

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