Back When We Were Grownups is a 2001 novel written by Anne Tyler in memory of her husband, who died in 1997.
Tyler's 15th novel, like most of her work, is set in Baltimore, Maryland. It opens with the sentence, "Once upon a time, there was a woman who discovered she had turned into the wrong person." The woman in question is Rebecca Davitch, a 53-year-old widow, mother, grandmother, and proprietor of a party and catering business run from her home called Open Arms. At an engagement party for one of her stepdaughters, she finds herself questioning everything about her life, and decides to take steps to resurrect her former self. Her self-improvement project includes a visit to her hometown in Virginia, picking up old hobbies, reading books that she had read in college, and eventually getting reacquainted with her old college/high school sweetheart, now divorced and living nearby, and renewing her intellectual interests, without abandoning her many matriarchal and professional duties.