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But Aldo never loses patience: when one of his sons once asked: 'How can you put up with her? It's not the real, true Tanya. That's the question Rebecca Davitch starts to worry at, from the first page of the book. Is your real, true self the one that you end up with in which case someone like Aldo is as deluded as his beloved Tanya?

Or is it possible to have left your real, true self behind? If so, is there any hope of retrieving it? These questions are highly relevant for Rebecca because she made a single, impulsive decision to marry a virtual stranger and has been busy with its consequences ever since. It's only rather far down the line, aged 53, that she wonders how life would have been if she had stuck to her plans and married college boyfriend Will and, indeed, stayed in college.

By marrying Joe Davitch, she gained an intoxicating if problematic new identity: she was assumed to be sociable, though she'd always been shy, and she had to play a maternal role even before she became pregnant by Joe, since he had three daughters already.

Life in an odd folk's home

She also acquired the jaunty nickname Beck. The Davitch tribe is introduced in the first chapter, on a typically awkward social occasion, at a picnic party thrown to celebrate the engagement of Rebecca's youngest stepdaughter who will acquire the responsibility of a stepchild of her own. It's fair to say, though, that many readers will never get the hang of so ramified a family tree: her birth daughter, for instance, has had two children by different husbands and is pregnant with another by her third. Nicknames complicate a set-up which would be tangled enough without them.

After a few short years of marriage, Joe himself was dead, in a car crash, and Rebecca's workload, both physical and emotional, became much heavier. She had to take over the precarious family business, giving parties in their dilapidated but substantial home, branded 'the Open Arms', offering herself yet again as an instant family member, this time to total strangers.

Back When We Were Grown-ups

This is a classic Tyler small business, reminiscent of the title establishment in Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, where there's no menu to order from but the staff take a good look at you and bring you what you seem to need. The overlapping of family and business has its drawbacks. When institutions take on the functions of family - meals your mother might have made, parties no one can be bothered to arrange for themselves - then perhaps the family is disordered as an institution. Her food is overcomplicated to the point of inedibility, the cook a borderline anorexic.

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Back When We Were Grownups by Anne Tyler | Penguin Random House Audio

Tomatometer Not Yet Available. Want to see. Super Reviewer. View All Photos 5. Movie Info. Having long since given up her dreams of college to get married and raise a family, and also having abandoned all of her other goals and ambitions in order to manage her family's catering business, Rebecca is attending an engagement party for her stepdaughter when it suddenly strikes her that she has, in the words of the film's press release, "been living the wrong life! Comedy , Drama. Ron Underwood. Hallmark Entertainment. Blythe Danner as Rebecca Davitch. Peter Riegert as Zeb.

Jack Palance as Poppy. Peter Fonda as Will Allenby. Faye Dunaway as Tina. Nina Foch as Mrs.

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