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A Patchwork Planet

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  13,003 ratings  ·  767 reviews
For the first time in mass market paperback, this novel introduces 30-year-old misfit Barnaby Gaitlin, a renegade who is actually a kind-hearted man struggling to turn his life around. A New York Times Notable Book.
Paperback, 320 pages
Published May 1st 2001 by Ballantine Books (first published April 14th 1998)
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Derek Finnigan At the beginning of the book, When Barnaby is attending the Renascence school, the students have to learn a weekly Shakespeare sonnet. The first sonne…moreAt the beginning of the book, When Barnaby is attending the Renascence school, the students have to learn a weekly Shakespeare sonnet. The first sonnet Barnaby has to learn is, 'When, in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes, Haply I think on thee'. Martine, along with his grandparents, will have faith and belief in him no matter what, and this is why, at the end of the book, when he finally comes to understand what Martine really means to him, Barnaby says to her, "Haply I think on thee".(less)

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Average rating 3.79  · 
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Oct 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I believe I've admitted to reading all of Anne Tyler's books, several of them more than once. I just reread A Patchwork Planet, and I'm dumbstruck again. Like no other author I know, Tyler is a master of the emotional sandbag. She blindsides you, saps you in the skull when you don't see it coming (even if you've already read the book!), and you need to take a brief time-out to recover from being a blubbering fool. In this paperback edition, if you don't experience an epiphany by page sixty-one, ...more
Jülie ☼♄ 
May 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book, a lot, which surprised me because I have to confess to only having read one other book by Anne Tyler which was A Spool of Blue Thread and, sadly, I was not very taken by it.

So when I came upon this well worn copy on a table outside my favorite local Cafe come Bookshop and read a few pages while waiting for my order...I wanted to read more...and so I did, and after my coffee I took it home with me.
I finished it in two days...despite my nearby glaring tbr pile! Sometime
Mark Porton
Feb 22, 2021 rated it liked it
A Patchwork Planet by Anne Tyler is an interesting little character study of a man called Barnaby Gaitlin.

Not all the cards have fallen Barnaby’s way, he hasn’t met his rich parents’ expectations, he’s divorced, he works in a dead-end job, he doesn’t conform to some of the norms of society regarding dress and appearance, he has a history of petty crime, lives in a tatty one room apartment and even his daughter isn’t that keen on seeing him sometimes. His life just seems a bit crappy.

His family
Jan 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Loved it. I think I say the same thing in every Anne Tyler book review, but I love her attention to detail and how she can craft unique, quirky characters that are not unrealistic. They have their distinct personality traits and flaws but they are still very human. Barnaby was a sometimes unlikeable but still enjoyable character to read about.
Jan 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
The critics say that Anne Tyler writes novels with quirky characters. I say that we are all quirky characters. Certainly, I grew up with and am a member of a family of quirky characters. I find the characters in Anne Tyler's novels real, they are people one meets everyday.

As I began to read this novel, I thought about days when I lived in the pages of Anne Tyler's novels. My trips to the library always took me to the same section, where I fingered the titles looking for favorite or unread novel
Dec 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes I feel like apologizing for liking Anne Tyler but this book in particular is truly wonderful - I'm not terribly great at reviews but it has the hallmarks of things I generally value in a book - wonderful characters who stay with you, and the amazing ability to tightrope-walk between funny and sad without ever becoming maudlin or flippant. ...more
lucky little cat
This short novel is probably a good starting place for readers new to Anne Tyler's books. Think of it as Tyler Lite,

Barnaby to the rescue again

with many of the author's favorite themes on show. A good-hearted underachiever, this time a black-leather-clad 30-something named Barnaby, has a complicated network of friends and earns his living as a cheerful man-of-all work, chiefly for little old people. He is loyal and reliable to a fault.

He's criticized and underrated by his materialistic parents,
Oct 21, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: 0-dl, w-mcl, x-sbc-read, 2013
not quite 3 stars

This book started out just fine. I started reading and found interesting characters, a pleasant writing style, and some very engaging dialogue. All good, right? Well, somewhere it took a turn, because I had to keep pushing myself to finish reading the darn thing.

Here’s the problem. I like what happens in a book to be meaningful in some way. I don’t want to read a bunch of random incidents that in no way help to impel the story forward. Anne Tyler has a habit of throwing a lot o
Dec 25, 2008 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
My second Anne Tyler was just wonderful. The main character Barnaby isn't always someone I liked, but he was so real from the first page on. It's a character-driven story, with a lot of snappy dialogue and quite a quick pace. It was almost like watching a comfortable and entertaining TV show, in fact it reminded of Gilmore Girls at times, except it was about a 30 something man and no daughter-mother trio, so take from that what you will. In short: I really liked it. ...more
Stephanie Holcomb
Jan 30, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I love Goodreads. You can click on "I'm finished" which does not necessarily mean you have completed the book to the final page.

I CANNOT stand it when, 187 pages into a book, the main character takes a turn that you absolutely can't see them taking. You think you know a guy...

I had my doubts reading this, really. Its horribly written. Time passed too fast and scenes were over in a few pages, nothing was drawn out and no agreeing with a character over their choices. In fact, choices weren't reall
Mar 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
No one can create quirky, beguiling, harmless misfits as well as Anne Tyler, and in A Patchwork Planet, Barnaby Gaitland steps onto the page. He's the black sheep of an affluent family, living in a rented basement studio, divorced, wanting to be a better father to his daughter, working for Rent-a-Back, a service company that does household jobs its elderly clients who can no longer manage. Along comes an angel, and his life seems to take a major turn for the better. But in the background of this ...more
Sep 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: modern-lit
I want to be Anne Tyler when I grow up.

Less ambitiously, if ever somebody was going to write me, write my life, my family, my friends, my fuck-ups, my fuck-downs - which I hope are the very opposite of ups - this is the only person I would want to do it. She'd make it all okay.
Jan 12, 2012 rated it did not like it
I kept reading and reading, waiting for this book to get good. But it always felt like nothing was happening. The romances felt forced, the family dynamic was uninteresting and I never really understood Barnaby, the main character. Why did he steal things? Why did he sleep with his co-worker when he had no attraction to her? Why did do the things that I felt that he had no reason to do? I kept reading mostly because I didn't absolutely hate it, but I can't say I really enjoyed the experience eit ...more
Ron Charles
Sep 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
'A Patchwork Planet" opens and closes with this protest: "I am a man you can trust." Barnaby Gaitlin understands the full value of trust, and between the covers of Anne Tyler's latest novel, he tells a story of hard won redemption in the face of withering doubts.

Everything about Barnaby's upbringing in a gracious Baltimore neighborhood promised a successful life. His family even keeps a book of narratives about their encounters with guardian angels, strangers who have passed on wise advice about
Galen Johnson
Jun 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
This book follows thirty year-old divorced father, never graduated college, manual laborer Barnaby Gaitlin through a year of growing up. Barnaby works for a company that aids the elderly and others with heavy lifting and big chores, leading to many interesting minor characters in the novel. Barnaby realizes that he is not living up to his potential both in his parents' eyes and in his own, although for different reasons. He meets a slightly older woman, Sophia, on the train and begins a friendsh ...more
Aug 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
I always enjoy Ann Tyler's works. Looking into the lives of ordinary people and finding extraordinary stories.
The main character in the novel,Barnaby Gaitlin, is the the anti-hero in this story. He is definitely no prince. A quasi-reformed juvenile delinquent, he is a disheveled handyman,helper with a heart and "a man you can trust". His work takes him into the homes and lives of people who have no reason not to trust him and build relationships with him. He likes the work because it puts him in
Carolyn Agosta
Jul 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I read the last page, sighed, and said "What a great story!", thus waking my husband and drawing his wrath (we were both extremely jet-lagged at the time). It was that good.

It's so easy to get jaded about books today - often the books touted on the bestseller lists are, well, less than impressive. Then comes along a book like A Patchwork Planet, reviving my delight in reading. Original characters, situations, problems - yet so relatable. Barnaby touched me with his impetuous kindnesses, his slid
Jan 16, 2008 rated it liked it
This isn't my favorite Anne Tyler book, but even so, it is an enjoyable read because her characterizations are so good. She seems to see all the foibles and failings of her characters, and helps us like them anyway. Barnaby Gaitlin is stuck in a position most of us probably understand--that of feeling like he is not living up to his own or others' expectations of him. How he makes peace with himself and his demanding family is a funny and interesting journey. ...more
Sarah Pavlina-Whelehan
May 27, 2010 rated it did not like it
Tyler's concept of the dialogue a 3o year old man would use, even in the mid-nineties, is laughable. ...more
Renita D'Silva
Jun 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Just wonderful
Barbara Nutting
Jun 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Anne Tyler has created a moving story of family dynamics and old age. I felt like part of their group, eating at their dining room table amid the chaos.

Barnaby is described as “Freak of the Week” and “Nerd of the Herd”, but ya’ gotta love him! Some of the other characters represent some form of getting old. I may be 80, but fortunately none of the “little old ladies” described me!!

Jun 21, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: contemporary
I’ve always liked Anne Tyler’s stories and this one started off well but it fell very flat in the end. She dedicated it to the loving memory of her husband so perhaps she lost heart towards the end. She has always written about people viewed as losers or really just view themselves as losers and then in the end find the life they had thought was mundane is pretty wonderful after all. I really liked ‘Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant’, but this one with Barnaby who works at Rent-a-Back and is con ...more
Nita Kohli
Mar 20, 2015 rated it it was ok
This book starts out fine. When I started reading this book, I felt this will be good book with humor and a quirky protagonist. But, then somewhere in the book things start messing up and I started losing interest. I did not feel for any character. In fact there were so many character that were not even needed. I found the book a total mess.

Read the complete review here:
Chris Waterford
May 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
My experience with Anne Tyler ranges from 2 stars (4 books) to 5 stars (2 books)---and this one falls in the upper half of that range. The writing quality is there but the narrative about this dysfunctional, ordinary man is ---well---ordinary.
Kris - My Novelesque Life

"Barnaby Gaitlin is one of Anne Tyler's most promising unpromising characters. At 30, he has yet to graduate from college, is already divorced, and is used to defeat. His mother thrives on reminding him of his adolescent delinquency and debt to his family, and even his daughter is fed up with his fecklessness. Still, attuned as he is to "the normal quota for misfortune," Barney is one of the star employees of Baltimore's Rent-a-Back, Inc., which pays him an hourly wage to help old people
Aug 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes contemporary fiction
Recommended to Mary by: Library Book Sale
Barnaby Gaitlin is a loser - a charming, lovable loser, perhaps - but a loser nonetheless. As a teenager, he had a bad habit of breaking into other people's houses. Although, it was never about stealing like it was for his teenage cohorts; Barnaby just liked to read other people's mail, pore over their family photo albums, and appropriate a few of their precious mementos. He had been in trouble ever since adolescence, but now, at just short of thirty years old, he was attempting to get his life ...more
Sep 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
If you are looking for an absolutely delightful book to end your summer reading, Anne Tyler's "A Patchwork
Planet" would certainly do the trick.

Our narrator, Barnaby Gaitlin, is a 30 year old "lovable loser," (to quote the book jacket.) As a teen, Barnaby ran afoul of the law by robbing neighborhood homes. Oh, he didn't want the cash; no, he just wanted the chance to read their mail, look at their photographs, and maybe grab a few souvenirs while he was at it. Now, to the despair of his social
Jul 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
I love quirky characters with substance and Anne Taylor delivers. I found myself dancing around the outer edge of who the main character, Barnaby Caitlin, is. Coming from a family of wealth and prominence, he is the self ordained black sheep. Trying to find his place in life, he has to wade through his childhood baggage. He works for the company 'Rent-a-Back' that offers their services in helping the elderly with things they no longer can do for themselves - from simple chores to weekly shopping ...more
Jul 22, 2011 rated it it was ok
I read this book many years ago and liked it, so when I saw it on tape at the library for $1 I picked it up to listen to it again. I didn't care for it so much this time. It is basically the story of a man who has been a disappointment to himself and his family trying to redeem himself and find a way to a happier life. There were some inappropriate things in it, but mostly this time I found the main character a little annoying! I don't want to disuade anyone from reading it- maybe I just didn't ...more
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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. She has published 20 novels, her debut novel being If Morning Ever Comes in (1964). Her eleventh novel, Breathing Lessons , was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1988. She is a mem ...more

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