Friday, February 8, 2008


Anne Tyler's books are usually full of quirky characters, but those of Back When We Were Grownups are not as quirky as most. Rebecca is having a belated mid-life crisis in her fifties and laments that she is not leading her "true" life. Anchoring an extended family that includes stepchildren and even a live-in centenarian uncle-in-law (OK, he's quirky—and funny, too), she is an introvert masquerading as an extrovert. To regain her former intellectual self, she reconnects with her childhood sweetheart Will, now a professor, whose heart she broke when she wed another man. It's obvious that her husband Joe, who died six years into their marriage, put her life on a path that has been much fuller than it would have been with Will. Rebecca is a truly lovable matriarch, with her poor fashion choices and her knack for drawing out the best in people, particularly those who are stubbornly withdrawn. I may have to add this to my "favorite books" list.

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