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A Slipping-Down Life

3.60  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,044 Ratings  ·  130 Reviews
A Slipping Down Life is the story of Evie Decker, the second-fattest girl in the Pulqua, N.C., high school, and her unlikely romance with Drumstrings Casey, a small-time rock singer playing in a country roadhouse. With cool and affecting understatement, Anne Tyler portrays the relationship of these two lonely, incomplete, incongruous individuals drawing together: Casey--mo ...more
Hardcover, 214 pages
Published 1970 by Alfred A. Knopf (first published 1969)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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This little book has a punch; the feel of a Carson McCullers story with the descriptive flair of Markus Zusak.

Zusak from the Book Thief; "The day was gray, the color of Europe. Curtains of rain were drawn around the car".

Tyler from A Slipping-Down Life; "While she was waiting on the front porch, clutching her books to her chest, disapproval hung like a fog up and down her street".

Of course this book was published six years before Zusak was born. Just a good book, plot, characters, style, all com
May 02, 2013 Reese rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Near the end of Anne Tyler's A SLIPPING-DOWN LIFE, I felt the needle on my care meter move. I hadn't expected to be touched by "Drumstrings" and Evie or their dreams and needs. And then the moment came when I stopped feeling as if I were taking a Rorschach test with this "odd couple" on every card. The inscrutable inkblots have real people in them -- or people who become real. So the work gets a slipping-UP rating, three stars instead of two.
Diana Stevan
I am a huge fan of Anne Tyler's. She writes about quirky characters with such art, fleshing out their traits and circumstances. I wouldn't hesitate recommending her works, but this one did not resonate with me. I think it's because both the main characters, the girl, who's an outsider at school, and the boy, a musician who has a habit of blurting out sentences that make little or no sense, are apathetic. They both have caring parents and yet there seems to be no connection with them, no love or ...more
Mar 06, 2016 Smitha rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks, borrowed
3.5 stars
A very eccentric tale about a 17 year old plump average looking girl who is apparently obsessed with a struggling guitarist nicknamed Drum, and carves his name on her forehead. Therein starts a slow and steady drumroll of events which culminate abruptly. This is not a love story, neither is it a story progression. I couldn't fully fathom the emotions of the two main characters. Clotilia, the maid, and Mr. Dekker, the father, thouh secondary characters, were powerfully portrayed. This wa
Mar 26, 2014 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes contemporary fiction
Recommended to Mary by: Bookmooch
Evie Decker is 17-years-old - a painfully shy, slightly plump teenager whose mother died in childbirth, and she lives with her father. All in all, Evie's life is terribly lonely - until she hears the voice of 'Drumstrings' Casey on the radio. She is completely captivated and is resolute in her desire to eventually meet him. With her only friend, Violet, she discovers where Drumstrings is singing next and goes to see his show.

It is while she is attending Drumstrings' shows, that Evie truly bursts
Nov 10, 2012 Romie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book having failed to complete a viewing of the movie; reading the book has put me more firmly in the "what on earth were they thinking" camp. It is, I think, the worst film adaptation I have ever encountered. It succeeds on no level. I suppose I suggest you watch it, try to guess what the book might have been, and then read the book, simply because the (bad) movie is tremendously strange and then more strange when you realize where it started.

As for the book, it offers a window into
Oct 05, 2011 Vanessa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2011
"I'll never get anywhere. I ain't but nineteen years old and already leading a slipping down life."

Ok, not to spoiler your reading experience to come but this line was my favorite moment in this book and made me think of my favorite novel about the anticlimactic reality of adulthood, Rabbit, Run.

This little slip of a novel is a real change of pace if you are more accustomed to Tyler's later, more famous efforts chronicling the disaffected lives of the middle-aged. This is Tyler's third book, wri
Karl Marx S.T.
Oct 17, 2012 Karl Marx S.T. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Evie Decker is your average --at least for the people around her-- shy, introvert and plump teenager living with her considerate father and hours and hours of silence to fill her every day. Then one night she hears a local rock singer on the radio and becomes instantly attracted to his voice. Evie then starts' to search for him and when she does, burst out of her lonely shell for the first time. What's more to catch a singers' attention than to slash her own forehead with his name?

Ms. Tyler’s th
Sep 15, 2012 Kristin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Anne Tyler's novels are always so good at capturing characters, better than any other author I can think of. You are swept along as the reader, empathizing with people you really feel you understand, that feel absolutely real, even the minor characters or those that do things you'd never dream of doing, like Evie here. Lovely book.
Jan 13, 2008 Jill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This kept gnawing at me.. I feel like I have experienced this minus the self-mutilation. The movie made the feeling worse.. which meant it was a good adaptation, imo. only thing is she still got the guy.. i didn't, which as time grows on.. is eventually a good thing.
Nov 30, 2014 Nick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an interesting little book, one of those novels that tells a deceptively simple story and leaves it to the reader to decide what the moral is. The crafting of the novel is so nearly perfect that you barely notice the author or the writing and focus instead on the characters and incidents - a rare treat.

It sheds light on the phenomenon of modern fandom, and how the fans make the star. Written in 1969, it can also be read as an ironic comment on the rebellious spirit of the decade and how
This is a story about a dullish high school girl, Evie, living a depressingly dull life, with her equally dull widowed father, in a drab little house in a dull little town. Her only friend, apparently is another girl at school who's more overweight than she. Only thing is, despite her bulk, Evie tends to be ignored. She really wants notoriety about something. But what? Well sir, she discovers Bertram "Drumstrings" Casey, a local, possibly up-and-coming rock singer. She latches onto him, initiall ...more
This book is not for everyone.....It is not a happy book but it definitely did not unsettle just made me reflect on growth and change. I have a part of me that enjoys taking a journey of angst and restlessness with another.

The movie added a piece on the end to give hope for the future of Mr. Slipping-Down life and Mrs. Mutilated forehead Casey......the book ends leading you to believe they are split up. I prefer to read things over watching a movie but I have noticed that when a book en
Sharyn Hutchens
Mar 14, 2015 Sharyn Hutchens rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
a funny book but not happy

Anne Tyler is the only author I know who could bring this book off without leaving me totally depressed. Well, she and Lee Smith. The words flow right from the dirt poor South, but you can't find offense in them. There are people who live this way all over the world. The South just uses them for characters. It's a sad story of a girl who wants more but doesn't really know how or what to want, and a boy who lacks the talent to be what he needs to be. Don't read it lookin
Jan 22, 2016 Laura rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
My second book by Tyler, and I think it will be my last. She's a great writer, no doubt, but I only finished this out of obligation. And while I didn't like any of the characters in this or the other book I read (Amateur Marriage), it made reading it unpleasant and not something I wanted to come back to in my reading time. Having unlikable characters certainly isn't a deal breaker, not by a long shot, but when you can't find even one person to "get along" with, it makes the whole experience unco ...more
Jun 26, 2010 BurgendyA rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one. Unless they really want to check it out for themselves.
Recommended to BurgendyA by: Noboday. I saw the movie first and I decided to give it a try.
I can't believe that I thought this novel was going to be interesting. This is the first book of Anne Tyler that I have read. The writing was not bad, but it did not get to me whatsoever. I don't want to be to over critical b/c I have read worst work.

Well here is a brief summary of the story. It is center around a young chunky awkward girl named Evie Decker falls madly inlove with this small town rocker Drumstring Casey from the moment she heard & saw him. Evie literally does anything just
Sep 04, 2012 Allison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book tackles a lot of issues - daily grind of high school, passion for music, crushes, even marriage - but has a strange lack of emotion throughout. The reader is never invited in to Evie Decker's mind, so what she thinks and feels remains unknown. This bothered me for a lot of the book; at the same time, the story itself was pulling me in. Evie has never been interested in anything, she's a good student who floats by without being noticed. After hearing his voice on the radio, she goes to a ...more
In this short early novel, Anne Tyler shows the main techniques that characterize her books. A couple of seemingly normal but slightly off characters connect, one does a strange -- but not criminal -- act, and the plot continues from there. The characters come from the unremarkable middle or lower-middle class and live in ordinary circumstances. Subsidiary characters are ordinary as well. But one or more of the central characters has a wish or a need stronger than those of most people and that l ...more
Krystl Louwagie
Aug 21, 2010 Krystl Louwagie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: pathetic girls pining over a loser guy?
Okay, I bought/read this book because one of my favorite actors, Guy Pearce, stars in the movie they're making of it. So, even though it looked like Anne Tyler was a bad writer, it was pretty short, so I got it.
A pretty stupid reason to get a book, so it should come to no surprise to you that it was pretty stupid. BUT it did have a few good points. I'll talk about the good and the bad. :)

The bad parts was that the writer pretty much sucked-she kept on using the same describing words over and ove
Rachel Brand
This was, all in all, a pretty odd book. You can probably tell that from the synopsis, but I truly didn't expect what happened in this book. I was intrigued by the synopsis as I, like all teenage girls, used to have crushes on musicians and fantasise about them falling in love with me. It was an interesting story and there were aspects which appealed to me, but my problem was the characters. I just didn't connect with any of them. Maybe this is an issue with books with less than 150 pages, but I ...more
May 20, 2010 LadyCalico rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a fast, entertaining read about an unattractive social misfit's brief, hopeless relationship with an unattractive, self-centered social misfit. The author kept her distance from the heart and soul of the characters, so that they were written without depth in a cartoon character style but were too pitiful to be truly funny and not warm and real enough to be truly tragic, just people you might pass on the street and hardly notice. The book was more character than plot or action-driven and ...more
Gary Garth McCann
A teenage girl falls for a singer-guitarist in a local band, and her adoration of him drives her to extraordinary measures. Among other things, this is a Tyler look at the teenager-to-adult transition among ordinary folks (as opposed to the transition among the well-heeled). The unexpected yet foreseeable in hindsight happens, and as a reader I wanted to reach into the lives of this girl and boy and fix things, as we want to do in real life.
A.E. Shaw
Oct 09, 2012 A.E. Shaw rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012

I'm confused as to a) how I'd not heard of this story before and b) how for something published in the '60s, it feels as relevant as it ever might.

It's the story of Evie, a dullish, averagish girl in suburban somewhere-in-America, and the way she suddenly falls for a would-be rock star. One night she causes scandal at the place he gigs by rolling up with his name carved into her forehead.

Before long, she's part of a hopeful publicity machine, and then, when that doesn't work out, she gets even
A Slipping Down Life by Anne Taylor is about a heavy girl whose life is lonely and depressing yet she has great courage, which makes her a role model for readers. Evie Decker is the main character and she only has one friend named Violet. Evie and Violet decide to go to a concert that Drumstring Casey is performing in. Evie falls in love with him and his song. After that night everything changes for Evie and Drumstring. They fall in love, start looking for new jobs and then elope. Evie also has ...more
Feb 03, 2008 Laura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of Tyler's earlier works, but one of the most recent I read. I could really tell that it was an earlier novel (perhaps her first published?), but I still found it a good read. She has such a wonderful way of creating these quirky characters and quirky situations. That is one of the things I have taken away from her books - putting two strange dynamics together and seeing what happens. The character of Evie is lost and a bit melancholy and ends up with a "rock star." It's a great prem ...more
Peter Burton
Dec 11, 2015 Peter Burton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Every Anne Tyler book is very good.This,an early short novel,shows her at the start of her career with a slightly expanded version of a piece originally in a magazine.As always she poses herself a problem ( a girl who has a rock singer's name carved into her forehead ) and explores how to make sense of it.well worth a read but not as good as her later ones.
Dec 27, 2015 Amy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jennifer D
Mar 14, 2011 Jennifer D rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While brief, this book is evocative and rich. The story has fantastical moments that seem wholly grounded and real as Tyler introduces the reader to Evie - a lonely 17-year-old - looking for a place to belong in the world. As Evie progresses through the story, her determination becomes more and more evident. This is a novella, I suppose - too long for a short story, too short for a novel. In any case, Tyler is a storytelling genius and has been so from her earliest writing days. This book was or ...more
Sep 17, 2014 Emma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved the character of Evie and felt so sad for her as she struggled to find happiness in her life. Well done Anne Tyler for creating a character I cared about. Finishing the book left me feeling melancholy and unfulfilled wanting to know how Evie's life continued.
Aug 19, 2014 Ellen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A quite well-written and depressing story. One of the characters says he just leading "a slipping down life" and he's got that right. Protagonist seems to be doing the same, though she makes things happen for herself in a passive-aggressive kind of way.
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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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