Knopf, May 2001, 25.00, 274 pp.
Rebecca “Beck” (as in beck and call) Davitch wonders about choices. Now fifty-three, she thinks back over three decades to when she selected the older Joe and his three daughters over her college beau. One year later, Beck and Joe added a fourth child to the mix. However, five years after that, Joe died in a car accident, leaving Beck to raise four daughters, care for other in-laws, and run the family business, predominantly by herself, without any credit or even thanks.
A calamitous family picnic on top of the last daughter's upcoming marriage leaves Beck to question is that all there is? She wonders if she has accomplished anything of meaning with her life. Would she be happier now if she chose her high school sweetheart and continued her college studies when she took the altar path with Joe?
BACK WHEN WE WERE GROWNUPS is an incredible look at the aging baby boomers whose hopes and dreams of a peaceful revolution have turned into mundane realities. The charcaters turn Anne Tyler's lyrical prose into a great tale as readers understand and empathize with many of them, but especially with Beck. Once upon a time there was an author who could paint a tale that is so entertaining and insightful, readers knew she chose the right path as a writer.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner