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A Slipping-Down Life

3.6  ·  Rating Details ·  3,150 Ratings  ·  136 Reviews
Evie Decker is a shy, slightly plump teenager, lonely and silent. But her quiet life is shattered when she hears the voice of Drumstrings Casey on the radio and becomes instantly attracted to him. She manages to meet him, bursting out of her lonely shell--and into the attentive gaze of the intangible man who becomes all too real....
Mass Market Paperback, 222 pages
Published April 15th 1983 by Berkley (first published 1969)
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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
Aug 30, 2010 Dora 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.
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
Mar 24, 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
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 04, 2016 IncRead 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
This was a curious & compelling little read. Teenager Evie becomes obsessed with a local singer Drum Casey & their lives become entwined after she carves his name on her forehead (or does she? I'm not quite clear on that) Evie's only goal seems to be furthering Drum's career & they seem to have a strange relationship which results in their marriage, despite the apparent lack of real affection between them. The story concludes with the death of Evie's father & the unsurprising - t ...more
Sep 26, 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
'The house had not yet heard of the death.' This is a description of the shock and altered reality a character is feeling as she arrives home after a bereavement. 'A Reader's Digest vocabulary test [was] neatly filled out in pencil.' This, a poignant vignette of the scene surveyed that wryly but also gently catches the character of the deceased.

So Tyler can really write.

But this is not a good novel, or at least not a good enough one. It is overwritten in that it is too long for the character jou
Karl Marx S.T.
Jun 01, 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.
Jan 05, 2017 D rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the author's earlier works from 1970. When I sat to read this, I realized I had read it many years ago. While I enjoyed it, I enjoy her later works much better. It is well written. Apparently, a movie was made from this book. As I recall, people enjoyed the book better than the movie as it explained a bit more of the story than the movie (of course). It was nice to see how she has grown as an author. I love her later works and highly recommend them. So if this is your first book b ...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
Apr 03, 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
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
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
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
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
Nov 18, 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
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
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
Mar 14, 2011 Jennifer 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 03, 2008 Ellen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
I discovered Anne Tyler in college when a friend gave me a copy of Celestial Navigation. After I graduated from Oberlin, I lived in Santa Cruz for 3 months, living in a big house with 6 other people, working half time at a Kinko's. Around 2 pm, I was done for the day and I'd walk to the beach and open my lastest Anne Tyler, purchased from a local used bookstore. I'd read, the sound waves in the background, until the sun set, then walk home for the day. This was a time before cell phones, email, ...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
Mar 22, 2011 Dawn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I always enjoy reading Anne Tyler's novels. This one was good, if unremarkable. It's one of her earlier works (published 1970) and I generally prefer her mid to late stuff. The story of a shy teenage girl who is obsessed with a small-time, local rock singer named Drumstrings Casey. After one of his gigs, she carves 'Casey' into her forehead, attracting the attention of the local press, the classmates that previously ignored her, and finally, Casey himself. The story takes some interesting, unexp ...more
I have mixed emotions about A Slipping-down Life . It's for sure my least favorite Anne Tyler - but I expect a lot from her and maybe I'm being too judgmental. I thought this was a new book but it was just a really old one I hadn't read and maybe Tyler hadn't honed down her skill yet. The cover states that this book is "Now A Major Motion Picture". If it is a movie, I've never heard of it nor do I think I would be interested in seeing it. The story moved pretty slowly but the ending totally carr ...more
Kelly Huang
Apr 04, 2012 Kelly Huang rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a brief story about a teenager named Evie, who is a plump, un-special girl. After hearing a band on the radio, she decides that she must see this band. It's the first of many of Evie's quietly resolute acts.

The book doesn't dwell on anything much--settings, characterizations, feelings are very concisely laid out. Perhaps due to the pithiness, I get the feeling that I have to catch up mentally to understand why things are happening.

Everything about the people and place that surrounds Ev
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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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