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If Morning Ever Comes
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If Morning Ever Comes

3.56  ·  Rating Details ·  2,681 Ratings  ·  161 Reviews
"A triumph."


Ben Joe Hawkes is a worrier. Raised by his mother, grandmother, and a flock of busy sisters, he's always felt the outsider. When he learns that one of his sisters has left her husband, he heads for home and back into the confusion of childhood memories and unforseen love....
Paperback, Large Print, 272 pages
Published August 27th 1996 by Ballantine Books (first published 1964)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Glenn Sumi
Apr 25, 2016 Glenn Sumi rated it really liked it
Wow. Anne Tyler's First Book, Published When She Was 22, Is Pretty Great!

The Harper Lee "Mocking Bird" (sic) reference makes absolutely no sense. But I think the illustration is based on what Tyler looked like in 1964.

This is Anne Tyler’s very first novel, written in 1964 when she was – gulp – only 22 years old. Apparently, Tyler has “disowned” this book and the one she wrote the next year, The Tin Can Tree. But I agree with the New York Times critic who, when reviewing the book, used words l
Fay Roberts
Jun 14, 2015 Fay Roberts rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful stack of Anne Tyler novels have been staring reproachfully down at me from my living room shelf since I received them as a gift. I thought I might as well start from the beginning and quickly looked her up on Wikipedia to get a list.

I was surprised to find that Tyler had "disowned" her first two novels but I'm always game to try so shrugged it off and added it to my Goodreads shelf where a long list of two starred reviews popped up beneath it. I quickly skimmed some and decided to j
Jul 13, 2010 Jana rated it it was ok
Oh my of the most pointless books I've ever read, with an irritatingly disconnected main character who doesn't seem to understand anyone or anything in life, including himself. I never understood why he did or said anything, and he always seems to be in some sort of stupor that makes you feel like you're in a cloud yourself reading it, just grasping for something that makes sense! I couldn't relate to a thing in it and I'm not even sure why I finished it! Now that I know it was he ...more
Sep 21, 2011 Underwhelmed rated it it was amazing
My mother (a babyboomer) introduced me to Tyler's books when I was 15. I've devoured them ever since. I read them before my marriage, while I was married, during my separation, and after my divorce. I've read some of her books 3 & 4 times. Screw those long winded writers of yesteryear that my private liberal arts college told me was brilliant: Tyler takes the cake! She's the woman (in my ridiculous opinion) that John Irving should have married. She would have eaten him alive--so, maybe not.
Sep 08, 2011 Rose rated it really liked it
Anne Tyler’s debut novel tracks the self-realization of a young man whose character struggles to negotiate a balance between self-identity and family identity.

Tyler's characteristic wit and eccentricity of characters is shown right off the bat even in this first novel.

"Seems like you are always loving the people that fly away from you, Ben Joe, and flying away from the people that love you. But if you've decided, this once, to do something the other way, I'll be happy to agree."
Terri Jacobson
This is the first novel Anne Tyler wrote, and you can certainly see her potential in this work. A good story with real and likable characters.
Nov 19, 2011 Kay rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction-general
In a recent New Yorker article Martin Amis wrote “When we say that we love a writer’s work, we are always stretching the truth: what we really mean is that we love about half of it.” I don’t agree with that as a general rule but it sums up my feelings about Anne Tyler pretty well. Some of her books I really love (Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, Saint Maybe, Back When We Were Grownups) and they’ve become a permanent part of my mental furniture. Others leave me cold (The Accidental Tourist, An ...more
Sep 21, 2008 Kellie rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2007-reads
The author has definitely improved as a writer since she wrote this one. This is about Ben Joe and his family. Ben Joe is attending college in NY. He is studying to be a lawyer at Columbia. After learning one of his sister’s has left her husband and moved back home, he feels compelled to go home for a visit right in the middle of a semester. Home is Sandhill, NC. The family of 6 girls and 1 boy (Ben Joe), Mom and Grandma, is quirky at best. Some of the interactions amongst characters in this boo ...more
Jul 03, 2016 Jax rated it really liked it
I'm not sure what the overall message was supposed to be or if we're supposed to think the course that Ben Joe takes at the end of the book is a good idea (I certainly don't), but this has all those wonderful small moments and shrewd observations of family life that I read Anne Tyler for. It's quite something to see the beginnings of her style and themes in this, her first book, written at age 22.
Jun 21, 2009 Karen rated it liked it
This is Anne Tyler's first book, and her quirky style is already evident. I enjoyed meeting Ben Joe and his family of six sisters plus his mother and grandmother. Some people are born to write, and while the plot and characters here are not as intricate and multi-faceted as in her later books, we can see that Tyler had found her voice already.
Sep 04, 2007 Lucy rated it liked it
Recommends it for: tyler fans
Shelves: readawhileago
I wanted to read her first novel since I have come to respect and enjoy her later works.

Anne Tyler was just 22 when she wrote this book and it's worth it just to see her picture, looking somewhat like a long haired Audrey Hepburn, on the dust cover.

The book doesn't have much of a plot. It's more like an intense character study of a southern family and the town they inhabit. Ben Joe Hawke wonders about time and place and where he fits in the cosmos. he leaves his law studies in NYC to make sure h
Annelie Bernar
Sep 05, 2015 Annelie Bernar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
E' il primo romanzo della Tyler che leggo e fin da subito la sua scrittura, lineare e molto scorrevole, mi ha catturata e trasportata dentro la storia. Con delicatezza l'autrice ci porta sulla porta di casa Hawkes e ci accompagna con la narrazione all'interno di una famiglia allegra e piena di personaggi, tutti femminili ; infatti Ben Joe, la voce narrante, è cresciuto circondato da donne : la madre e numerose sorelle. L'autrice ci racconta la quotidianità di una famiglia numerosa, squarci di pa ...more
Bill Krieger
Aug 15, 2011 Bill Krieger rated it it was ok
I finished this bad boy on my Ty-Da baseball trip.

I heart Anne Tyler, and she's one of my favorite authors. This was her first published book. The writing style is wonderful, as usual, but there's really not much there. It's that and it really hurts that the main character isn't very interesting or appealing.

Hey, Anne says it best.

"The reviews I don't remember, except that one person said the book was 'about as exciting as a cucumber sandwich,' which hurt my feelings at the time but now seem
Alexandra Thomas
Apr 30, 2016 Alexandra Thomas rated it really liked it
This is an interesting read if you've read later Anne Tyler. It's her first published novel with all its characters more emotionally available and explained somehow than in any of her later books. And although she has been quoted as saying she's no fan of this early work, and although her later novels are undoubtedly more polished, precise and sophisticated, this one is like a diamond in the rough and well worth a read if you're at all interested in the novelist and her artistic progression.
Estrella Esparza-johnson
Mar 29, 2011 Estrella Esparza-johnson rated it really liked it
The last book I read by Anne Tyler was "Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant" when I was in seventh grade. It was great to reaquaint myself with Ms. Tyler's work. I enjoyed the inner-workings of Ben Joe Hawkes, being an introvert myself. The craziness of his family was authentic and clear, basically anyone who has a family can find something in this work.
Jan 12, 2009 Sull rated it really liked it
Recommended to Sull by: My mother bought it for me.
I read this back when I was a teen-ager, and AT's style really caught me, though I didn't get her themes then at all. I still love her gentle style (so low-key)and now sometimes get her themes: the power of family, the powerlessness of love, the longing for independence from both. . . .
Jan 05, 2009 tina added it
someone reviewed the book saying it was as exciting as a cucumber sandwich. i like cucumber sandwiches. they're crispy, refreshing, and especially nice with cream cheese and tomato. Not in my top five, but i'm happy i read it & I would read more of her work.
May 30, 2015 Jessica rated it liked it
How does Anne Tyler make me want to read about regular families? I can never quite name what it is about her books that hook me, but this one has done it. Reading her first novel for a "Reading Bingo" I am playing at work. Loved it.
Jul 29, 2010 Pat rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I love this author, she does wonderful character studies. This was her first book, which I somehow missed. She was in her 20's when she wrote it. Excellent!
Ben Joe Hawkes had a flock of sisters, a mother with a reputation for being cold-hearted, and an eccentric grandmother. Ben Joe, aged 25, can't decide if he wants to take care of them all, or just run away and never look back. When he's at home, he wants to go away, but when he's gone - to law school in NYC - he can't stop worrying and wondering what's going on at home.

This one is a bit of a puzzle. It's not particularly plot driven, and I don't know what to make of it. Ben Joe just sort of drif
Jul 11, 2017 Wendy rated it liked it
Pretty average
Andy Plonka
Feb 19, 2017 Andy Plonka rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: src
A look at 60's culture written during that time.
Mar 15, 2014 Nereia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You say the best when you say nothing at all

Il modo in cui Anne Tyler riesce sempre a dire qualcosa, a trasmettere qualcosa, non raccontando mai nulla di speciale mi stupisce ogni volta che prendo in mano un suo libro.
Se mai verrà il mattino è il suo primo romanzo e, nonostante lo stile un po' acerbo, è riuscito ad avvolgermi in un caldo abbraccio così come tutti gli altri suoi romanzi che ho avuto il piacere di divorare. Sì, perché la Tyler ha la capacità di entrarmi dentro e accarezzarmi il cu
Mar 02, 2017 Marylynn rated it liked it
How can you be lonely surrounded by a family of women you love? But he is. Why does he never feel truly engaged with anyone?
I thought of this novel as an early picture of ADD and anxiety. Then again, I could be wrong.
Jan 10, 2016 Holly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written when Anne Tyler was only twenty-three, "If Morning Ever Comes" is a beautiful book. Reading Anne Tyler is like a long talk with a old friend - one feels good afterwards with a sense of having learned something and of having discovered something new about life. A central theme is the complex relationship been an individual and his or her family.

Ben Joe has many sisters. He is off at university at Colombia when he finds out that his oldest sister is back home in Sandhill, that she has left
Nov 10, 2016 Keely rated it really liked it
Twenty-five-year-old Ben Joe Hawkes is experiencing an aimless bummer. He's halfheartedly pursuing a law degree at Columbia, but he's a southern boy, and the New York cold is about to undo him. He simultaneously misses the comforting familiarity of daily life with his mom, Gram and many sisters back in Sandhill, North Carolina, while also dreading the pinned-down feeling he gets when he's home and part of their mystifying female world. He worries, too. He'd really kind of like to exert some rati ...more
Gary Garth McCann
In Buenos Aires this past January, on sabbatical, I decided to re-read If Morning Ever Comes, Anne Tyler’s first book, which I’d read before on a sabbatical in 1992 in Madrid. I liked the idea of re-visiting my own life. And I love all of Anne Tyler. I can never guess where she’s taking me in a book, which is the highest praise I can pay to any author. When I get to the end of a Tyler novel, I often have to sit and think about where she’s left me. Both cases proved true even in re-reading If Mor ...more
Aug 21, 2012 Anthony rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Summer Cottage Readers
It was a dear friend of mine that introduced me to this author. He's actually a big fan of Anne Tyler. And after reading another novel, this one, and others in waiting, I can completely understand why. They are a pleasure to read.

Being introduced to Ben Joe Hawkes, I have to say, I've never come across a main character like this one before. He's a worrier, socially awkward, overbearing, but never seems to have the courage to truly say exactly what's on his mind. Unmotivated, discouraged, introve
Oct 01, 2014 Ashlie rated it it was ok
Shelves: own, book-bazaar
This is the first book that I have read by Anne Tyler: I picked it up on a whim having never heard of her because I came across many of her novels at a book sale and reviews of her work seemed good. I was not terribly impressed by this one, but after finding out this was her first novel, and she wrote it at 22 I may give her another whirl.

Ben Joe is the only son in a house filled with women: mom, sisters, and grandmother. When he finds out that his oldest sister has left her husband to come back
Kathleen S
Dec 05, 2013 Kathleen S rated it liked it
Ben Jo, a Southern boy, who grew up in a household of women, is cold and misses his family, as he adjusts to boring law school classes in NYC. Letters from his sister leave out the details he wants about his family, so he suddenly hops on a train to see what is really happening and to see if they need him. But they don't need him as life has gone on just fine without him. Being home does not make him happier.

Ben Jo's family is a wonderful conglomeration of unusual people. At this point in his li
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Anne Tyler 2 6 May 06, 2015 03:35PM  
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Anne Tyler was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1941 and grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. She graduated at nineteen from Duke University and went on to do graduate work in Russian studies at Columbia University. The Beginner's Goodbye is Anne Tyler's nineteenth novel; her eleventh, Breathing Lessons , was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1988. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts a ...more
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