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Who Do You Think You Are?

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  5,833 ratings  ·  605 reviews
A new book by Alice Munro is always a major event, providing striking proof that a book can be both extremely popular and of the very highest literary quality. It is significant that this superb collection of linked stories has been four years in the making, a reflection of the author's determination to select only polished work that is truly excellent. ...more
Hardcover, 206 pages
Published 1978 by Macmillan (first published 1977)
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Joyce K. This book is suitable for a 15-year-old. When experiencing this book, I wasn't sure if I should feel sorry for Flo or Rose. Each woman has her own cha…moreThis book is suitable for a 15-year-old. When experiencing this book, I wasn't sure if I should feel sorry for Flo or Rose. Each woman has her own challenge to overcome in life. Although both seem mired in their own life situation. Rose, however, does surprise the reader and takes us on an adventure into the much larger world.(less)

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Average rating 3.91  · 
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 ·  5,833 ratings  ·  605 reviews

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Jun 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2017
What is it that makes us choose a partner, the person with whom we believe we want to spend our life with? And how do personal circumstances, the expectations of others, and the visions we project of the future we think we desire affect such decision making process?
If you are a woman and you read this book, you will recognize yourself, or a previous version of yourself, in the young girl who defines the rest of her life based on her uncontrollable need to please.
If you are a man and you read thi
Jun 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nobels
Alice Munro tells me some vital facts about myself, and what fuels my reading passion.


I can't review her at all. I read her stories (this is my fourth collection), find pleasure in the calm and quiet settings and characters, full of subtext and possibilities for own interpretations. I bow to her incredible skill to create atmosphere.

And yet!

I close the collections, one after the other, with a feeling of ...

Yes, that is it. With a feeling of the Nothingness that is slowly eating the imagin
Jun 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: five-star-books
The Beggar Maid is an engaging set of linked stories about Rose and her stepmother, Flo, over a period of forty years. Initially published in Canada under the title, Who Do You Think You Are, it is the 1978 winner of the Canadian Governor General’s Award.

Although this collection of stories bears two different titles, it captures in essence the main protagonist, Rose’s identity crisis chiefly with respect to her social status and sense of self-worth. When we first meet Rose, she lives with her w
I had never read Alice Munro before, so I am grateful to The Mookse and the Gripes group's project revisiting the 1980 Booker shortlist.

This book is difficult to categorise, and is somewhere between a short story collection and a novel. I can see why the Booker jury chose to accept it as a novel, because the stories are all episodes in the life of one woman, Rose, and they are arranged in a chronological sequence, but each could equally be read as a self-contained story.

Rose's mother died when
What is there to say about Alice Munro? She is the consummate artist, the supreme master of the short story form. Incomparable in her complexity: the sudden rush of surprising juxtapositions, the dip of a yawning vision of the abyss, the gurgle of delightful humour, the vibrant pleasure of recognition, that moment when you say yes, yes, of course.

This collection, subtitled Stories of Flo and Rose, was first published in 1977. The stories are more or less chronologically arranged and follow Rose
Apr 21, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In a review of the Selected Stories that functioned as herald, Updike spoke of “a well-mediated complexity and multiplicity of plot, an intense clarity of phrase and image, an exceptional psychological searchingness and honesty,” “a grittiness…and a bold reach”—promises of pleasure I retained, and recalled over time, until circumstances (fatigue with the fiction I was reading, ambitious browsing in a store that carried a quantity of Munro) placed The Beggar Maid in hand. And it’s wonderful.

Flo a
Raul Bimenyimana
Aug 11, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The thing she was ashamed of, in acting, was that she might have been paying attention to the wrong things, reporting antics, when there was always something further, a tone, a depth, a light, that she couldn't get and wouldn't get."

At this point I'm certain my friends are tired of hearing me talk about Alice Munro. But she's remarkable and they'll just have to put up with it, and this book, as well as the others by her, is testament to that. This is a collection of stories following Rose, a gi
In these ten inter-connected stories of Rose and Flo, Alice Munro explores the universal story of growing up; the question of identity, of resilience, and of escape – with a difference, of course, because this is Alice Munro, the Canadian author of too many awards to mention. In June, 2009 she won the Man Booker International Prize.

After reading daughter Sheila Munro’s memoir, I decided to reread Who Do You Think You Are? (titled: The Beggar Maid: Storie
George K. Ilsley
"Who Do You Think You Are?" is the Canadian title of this collection, and it is a very Canadian sentiment. It is used to put people in their place, to put someone down who thinks they might get ahead, someone who imagines they might be better than their setting or their peers. It is a hard-truthed barb used to puncture dreams and fantasies.

"The Beggar Maid" is a title used outside of Canada, and it just confuses me when I see it, because the book is marked as "read" yet I don't remember ever rea
Richard Derus
Rating: 2.5* of five

I hate Flo, and dislike Rose, and can think of no possible reason for anyone to read more than the Pearl Rule requires or the first three stories, whichever comes first in your edition.

The entire unkind review is on my blog, Expendable Mudge Muses Aloud.
Lyn Elliott
Jul 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Finally I have entered the world of Munro readers and am delighted to find myself there.
It's interesting to learn that the transitions of Munro's own life are reflected in Rose's story and the emotional complexities circling round that central issue of 'who do you think you are', with deep uncertainty about self. In every story, we see this manifested in some way - Rose's indecision about marriage, the aftermath of that decision, misjudged relationships, wild exhilaration, lasting embarrassment
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
Sometimes I watch singing contests (like the American Idol) on tv and see good singers lose because they would commit the unfortunate mistake of choosing the wrong songs to sing. I cannot say here that Alice Munro chose the wrong plot, or that the story does not suit her. I do not know what would have suited her. I can see, however, that she's a very good writer although the story here (short STORIES, really, but made into one cohesive novel because of the commonality of characters in each of th ...more
Jonathan Pool
The Beggar Maid is the first time I've read Alice Munro. She's generally very well received, and a Nobel Prize in Literature is a big accolade.
So why do I feel somewhat nonplussed by The Beggar Maid?
If I hadn't known this was the work of a literary Titan, would I have moved on with barely a flicker?
I enjoyed nine of the ten stories; I found the last story Who Do You Think You Are? both the weakest, and one strangely out of sequence in a book where we travelled through Rose's life with her (and
Jan 23, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took me five stories to become heavily invested and it was worth it. Munro is very precise in describing conflicts that rage within ourselves.
The same brilliant Alice Munro I have come to know and love. With a bonus: all short stories are about the same character, Rose, so it is almost like a novel, although not quite 😊.
Royal Beatings - 3/5 stars
Privilege - 4/5 stars
Half a Grapefruit - 3/5 stars
Wild Swans - 1/5 stars
The Beggar Maid - 4/5 stars
Mischief - 4.5/5 stars
Providence - 4/5 stars
Simon's Luck - 3/5 stars
Spelling - 4/5 stars
Who do you think you are? - 4/5 stars
Micky Sahi
Jun 23, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
What do I think? I don't know. Reading the 210 pages of sheer torture, I have not been able to figure out what kind of a person Rose really was. Or what this story is really trying to tell me.

Rose grew up in West Hanratty with her stepmother Flo and her father. Seeing her up-bringing and the lack of a real connection with her family, I would often think that once she is out of there, she would be ok.

I got hopeful and in a way proud of her when she got a scholarship and met Patrick. I thought her
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
This is my first Alice Munro, and it clearly deserves its literary accolades. It’s a short story collection that follows the same characters more or less chronologically through their lives: a girl and later woman named Rose, and her stepmother, Flo. The characters are certainly believable, and I became more engaged with it in the latter 2/3 of the book, as Rose becomes an adult living her own life and making adult choices – many will disagree with me on this point, but to me there’s only so muc ...more
Jan 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Who do you think you are? by Alice Munro is the kind of a book that reminds me about the power of literature. The novel (or a collection of stories) is about a girl and then woman named Rose and it presents some glimpses of her life. Sometimes they are life-changing, sometimes just a recollection, a detail that brings a stream of associations, anecdotes, memories. Everything is so polished, so precise that I was sighing with admiration over some sentences, their subtle perfection. The way everyt ...more
Oct 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Some of the most beautiful writing I have read recently. I kept having that feeling you get when you read a really gorgeous sentence or paragraph or scene and you just think, "WOW," and want to put it in your pocket and remember it forever. One of the critics' comments on the back of my copy used the phrase "psychological precision" and I don't think I could really put it any better. One of my favorite things about it was how it captured a person's feelings toward the people in the margins of th ...more
Nov 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1001-books
I enjoyed these realistic stories of a girl born poor in rural Canada, growing up with a stepmother with whom she has little in common but gets on pretty well. I liked reading about Flo (the stepmother) more than Rose, which was a pity because most of the stories focus on Rose. Flo is funny, while Rose is rather more serious. But Rose’s life was interesting and archetypical for its time, as she did the marriage-and-children thing and then broke away in what I suppose would have been the 1960s or ...more
Jan 29, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-book, 2021
Me after finishing this:
The thing she was ashamed of, was that she might have been paying attention to the wrong things, reporting antics, when there was always something further, a tone, a depth, a light, that she couldn't get and wouldn't get.

I know, it's treason, but I’ve grown weary of female coming-of-age-in-Ontario stories.
I liked Rose and Flo but there was a certain disconnect. The writing, however, I concede. And this is why I will try another Alice Munro.
Sep 01, 2022 rated it really liked it
Alice Munro is a name I’ve been dimly aware of within fiction for I’m not sure how long, but I haven’t really known much about her beyond that her writing is supposed to be very good. When one of her books became available at my library, I decided it was finally time to give her a go. After looking into it, short stories also seem to be her particular skill set, so with ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ being a series of interconnected short stories revolving around characters Flo and Rose, following ...more
Dec 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Don't tell anyone, but I've never read any Alice Munro. I know, I know. All of my bookish friends love her -- even the ones who generally avoid anything written by women -- so this isn't a confession made lightly. I've meant to find something of hers for a while now, but it just never happened. There are so many books and so many writers that I want to read that things usually just have to bubble to the top for me to take notice.

Confession, The Sequel: I haven't been reading much of anything la
Poornima Vijayan
I love Alice Munro. But what this book did, was take the love to a whole new level. The Beggar Maid is a brilliant collection of connected short stories. The nuances, the emotions that we seldom even bring to surface to acknowledge; they're all written so fetchingly by Munro.

That this is the only book that snuck into the Booker list that's not a novel, tells you something.

We have Rose who has 'escaped' Hanratty (or has she?) her home of her childhood. And we have Flo who is her stepmom, a major
4.5 stars. A well written, interesting novel about the lives of Rose and her step mother, Flo. Flo remains in the small Canadian town of Hanratty, Ontario for all her life. Rose begins life in Hanratty, then receives a scholarship and moves to study in Toronto. The story mainly follows Rose's life, her relationships, her career changes and her relationship with Flo, her daughter and the men in her life.
A smoothly written, clearly phrased, well described novel of related short stories.
A number o
Mar 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2015
I feel pretty confident at this point that I can always count on Alice Munro.
Feb 22, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Listen, I just wanna read ACoL.

Not my jam. Sorry book.
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Alice Ann Munro, née Laidlaw, is a Canadian short-story writer who is widely considered one of the world's premier fiction writers. Munro is a three-time winner of Canada's Governor General's Award for fiction. Her stories focus on human relationships looked at through the lens of daily life. She has thus been referred to as "the Canadian Chekhov."

She is the winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Liter

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