Dec 22, 2004

Back When We Were Grownups, Anne Tyler

I read this book because I was curious about the title, and the premise seemed cool. A woman re-examines her life after realizing she turned into the "wrong person." Ultimately, I was impressed with the writing and the characterizations of her family members, but I was frustrated and disappointed in the results of Rebecca's "re-examination." It just seemed like she entertained certain notions from her past, and then didn't follow through with anything or really truly change anything, realizing that she had been happy all along. A little too Hallmark for my taste, and neatly tied up at then end. I like to feel a little off at the end of a book, and this book just tried to slap some tape on and pass it off to the reader. Although, the tied up ends surround an empty package. I don't feel like she really delved into herself as a person enough to even figure out that she had turned into the wrong one. The source of the most frustration for me in this book, though, is the way her family treats her. They don't respect her, they don't seem to care about anyone but themselves, they are totally self-absorbed, and they are adults! Rebecca just seems resigned to the fact that this is how it is, even though she is trying to figure out who she is and what her place is. It's like she's saying, "They are my family, take it or leave it," and she will just put up with their insensitive and abrasive comments. The whole re-examination of self just doesn't seem to come to fruition. She gets just far enough that it might become difficult for her to confront certain people or things that have happened, and she backs off and "realizes" that she was happy after all. I'm curious to see what others may have to say, especially if they think she really was successful in her re-examination. I did love Poppy, though. He was the most sensible character at 99 years old...

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