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When You Were Older [Kindle Edition]

Catherine Ryan Hyde
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (849 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $13.99
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Book Description

"A fantastic read which will have people talking about it for many weeks and months to come." -Sarah's Book Reviews

By the bestselling author of DON'T LET ME GO and PAY IT FORWARD, WHEN YOU WERE OLDER is the heartrending, thought-provoking, and life-affirming story of two very different brothers who try to build a new life together, against the backdrop of an uncertain and uneasy time in our shared history.

Russell Ammiano works on the 104th floor of the World Trade Center. On the morning of September 11, 2001, the phone rings while Rusty is rushing to work. The news is devastating: Rusty's mother has died of a stroke, leaving his brain-damaged older brother Ben alone. This news also saves Rusty's life. He's still at home when two planes hit the World Trade Center--and only one of his friends and colleagues survives. In a single day, the life Rusty built in New York crumbles to the ground.

Rusty returns to his tiny hometown and the brother he was more than happy to leave behind. Ben hasn't changed a bit, but the town has. Tensions are running high in the wake of the terrorist attack, while Rusty struggles to put the the past behind him and care for the exasperating brother he loves. He finds refuge drinking coffee in the early morning with beautiful Egyptian-American Anat in her father's bakery.

Rusty is beginning to get his life back...until one awful night threatens to take it all away again.

"The award for the amount of humanity woven into a book goes to Catherine Ryan Hyde." -Ivana of Willing to See Less

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Catherine Ryan Hyde is the best-selling and award-winning author of 24 published and forthcoming books, including the acclaimed WHEN YOU WERE OLDER, DON'T LET ME GO, SECOND HAND HEART, WHEN I FOUND YOU and the creative nonfiction collection THE LONG, STEEP PATH: EVERYDAY INSPIRATION FROM THE AUTHOR OF PAY IT FORWARD. New Kindle editions of her backlist titles FUNERALS FOR HORSES, EARTHQUAKE WEATHER AND OTHER STORIES, ELECTRIC GOD, and WALTER'S PURPLE HEART are now available. Forthcoming frontlist titles are WALK ME HOME and WHERE WE BELONG. Her bestselling novel PAY IT FORWARD inspired the movie of the same name. The Richard and Judy Book Club, the UK's equivalent of the Oprah book club, launched LOVE IN THE PRESENT TENSE and subsequent novels onto the bestseller list in the UK. Learn much more about the author, maybe even more than you wanted to know, at

Product Details

  • File Size: 3274 KB
  • Print Length: 376 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1480266515
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00A2ZW1A0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #898 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
120 of 121 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, complex fiction, truer than nonfiction December 3, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This brilliant novel about a survivor of the 9/11 destruction of the Twin Towers is one of the best books written by an amazingly gifted writer. Catherine Ryan Hyde writes with an emotional fluency that is breathtaking in its simplicity and depth. I have read just about everything she's written and still can't figure out how she does it. I sit down to read one of her novels and literally can't put it down till it's done. This one had me awake till 4:30 a.m. because I cared so much about the people and events she created and described. I do not believe these people don't exist for real somewhere.

Russell, who works at a big advertising agency on the 104th floor of one of the towers, has managed to escape small-town life and his family, who he loves but can't tolerate. On September 11th, on his way out the door to a meeting at his place of work, he answers a phone call. His mom has died suddenly, leaving his disabled brother alone with only the neighbors to take care of him. Russell makes arrangements, hangs up the phone, then sees, through his living room window, as his place of work is destroyed. Although answering the phone saved his life,at this point, his life plunges into chaos. How he survives and who he meets along the way are metaphors for the aftermath of the Twin Towers tragedy. The book is an emotional roller-coaster through grief, responsibility, love, terrorism, cultural adaptation and tolerance, and, ultimately, the unique human condition of living in America in the post-9/11 years.

Hyde does more than tell the story of the tragedy through the eyes of a survivor. She dwells very little on the actual details of the terrorist attack. The impact on the characters in the story tells more about the events during and afterward than a mere factual account.
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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Read! December 3, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I loved this story. I am 95% finished with it and decided to write a review before I forget because this story deserves to be recognized. As the mom of a special needs young adult, I could totally relate to the way that Ben, the special needs brother, handled life's situations. But, the story is so much more and that is what I did not expect. What a beautiful love story between a man and a woman! I loved how the storyline developed. I liked the way it went back and forth between past and present to explain the relationship between the two brothers. I loved everything about this book. I look forward to reading more by this author!
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44 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You've Arrived October 16, 2012
By Blair
I think a story teller is one of the crucial members of society. Catherine Ryan Hyde is easily one of our best. I wish I could tell you how many times she set up the phrase that left me in awe the way a moment in music can thrill you because of everything that came before it. Everyone who is in love or remembers the magic will find some of it in these pages.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Restoring your faith in humanity May 14, 2013
By Ivana
...and the award for the amount of humanity woven into a book goes to Catherine Ryan Hyde. Based on my experience with the previous and first-to-me book by this author, Don't Let Me Go, I've had only a faint idea of what to expect: "small" people waging their everyday battles, love and devotion, strength of human spirit and generosity in abundance. Our heroes in When You Were Older are Russell, who worked in one of the towers and thought he had left his small town far behind; his brother Ben who sustained a brain damage as child and is incapable of living alone after mother's death; Anat and her father who, being of Egyptian origin, become targets for people to take out their frustrations toward everything Middle Eastern; their neighbors and friends, some of them sent to war never to come back.

Catherine looks at a fistful of people in a small town in the aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy and describes what probably went through people's minds, wherever they were in the world in that moment. It's a complex tale of tolerance, guilt, forgiving and love. When everything changes in a matter of minutes, Russell must deal with the loss of his new life that burned down in the debris of the towers and return to a life he ran away from. This book is about trying to make sense and reason with what happened while confronted with another life-changing tragedy. The author does it with much grace and warmth and bit by bit restores your faith in humanity.

Maybe in all that Russell comes out as a bit too perfect. So does the rest of the cast. There's a happy ending after all the obstacles have been heroically overcome. But in this case, it works. It's not a book to provoke hate, but to promote optimism.
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30 of 36 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sweet, but predictable story May 22, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
3.5 of 5 stars
Russell receives a phone call regarding his mother's sudden death, making him late for work at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. His coworkers, except for one man also late for work, are dead. His best friend jumped to his death to escape the flames.
Russell hitchhikes home to care for his older, brain damaged brother Ben, who has temper tantrums and meltdowns when he's frustrated. Russell falls in love at first sight with Anat, a naturalized American citizen of Egyptian descent whose bakery is targeted for vandalism by Islamaphobes.
This is a sweet story, a bit on the Pollyanna contingent. Although predictable, I enjoyed this easy read in an afternoon. The story moves quickly, albeit without much tension. If you like sentimental stories, you'll like this book. If you're looking for twists and turns and complex characters, you might want to skip this one.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Unique perspective on 11/11
This is a very moving story of a man who narrowly misses being in the Twin Towers on 11/11, delayed by a phone message saying his mother had died and he needed to return to Kansas... Read more
Published 1 day ago by Jeane Rhodes
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent story line and character development
Excellent story line and character development. Held my interest completely. Found it difficult to put down.
I love this author. Read more
Published 3 days ago by Joanne Robinson
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
liked it
Published 5 days ago by Frances C. Hall
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A very good story about family loyalty and choices we are compelled to make.
Published 7 days ago by Ruth Grundyson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good book worrhreading
Published 7 days ago by LuAnn Derikart
5.0 out of 5 stars Another one to "think about".
Great "to the heart" story of two brothers and their lives after 9/11/2001. True to life struggles and the feelings of "hate" that were brought about even in a... Read more
Published 8 days ago by Dorothy Bickar
5.0 out of 5 stars How disasters can change your life for the good
Excellent book. A love story with so many disasters all happening at the same time. A very loving ending regardless of all the challenges that are being experienced.
Published 8 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very well written, held my interest, which is hard to do!
Published 8 days ago by Jean Allen
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent story about a caregiver and autistic brother. Once I picked it up I couldn't put it down
Published 9 days ago by Martha Ann Zehner
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I will be reading more of Catherine Ryan Hyde.
Published 9 days ago by Gail
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More About the Author

Catherine Ryan Hyde is the author of 27 published and forthcoming books, including TAKE ME WITH YOU, WHERE WE BELONG, WHEN I FOUND YOU, WALK ME HOME, SECOND HAND HEART, DON'T LET ME GO, and WHEN YOU WERE OLDER. New Kindle editions of her backlist titles FUNERALS FOR HORSES, EARTHQUAKE WEATHER AND OTHER STORIES, ELECTRIC GOD, and WALTER'S PURPLE HEART are now available. Also available is THE LONG, STEEP PATH: EVERYDAY INSPIRATION FROM THE AUTHOR OF PAY IT FORWARD, her first book-length creative nonfiction.

She has three new novels forthcoming from Lake Union/Amazon Publishing, including THE LANGUAGE OF HOOFBEATS in December of '14 and WORTHY in the summer of '15.

An avid hiker, traveler, and amateur photographer, she has just released her first book of photos, 365 DAYS OF GRATITUDE: PHOTOS FROM A BEAUTIFUL WORLD.

She is co-author, with publishing industry blogger Anne R. Allen, of HOW TO BE A WRITER IN THE E-AGE: A SELF-HELP GUIDE.

Her best-known novel, PAY IT FORWARD, was adapted into a major motion picture, chosen by the American Library Association for its Best Books for Young Adults list, and translated into more than 23 languages for distribution in over 30 countries. The paperback was released in October 2000 by Pocket Books and quickly became a national bestseller. Simon & Schuster released PAY IT FORWARD: YOUNG READERS' EDITION in August of '14. It is suitable for kids as young as eight. A special anniversary edition of the original PAY IT FORWARD is forthcoming in December of '14

LOVE IN THE PRESENT TENSE enjoyed bestseller status in the UK, where it broke the top ten, spent five weeks on the bestseller lists, was reviewed on a major TV book club, and shortlisted for a Best Read of the Year award at the British Book Awards. Both BECOMING CHLOE and JUMPSTART THE WORLD were included on the ALA's Rainbow List, and JUMPSTART THE WORLD was a finalist for two Lambda Literary Awards. WHERE WE BELONG won two Rainbow Awards in 2013.

More than 50 of her short stories have been published in The Antioch Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train and many other journals, and in the anthologies Santa Barbara Stories and California Shorts and the bestselling anthology Dog is my Co-Pilot. Her stories have been honored in the Raymond Carver Short Story Contest and the Tobias Wolff Award and nominated for Best American Short Stories, the O'Henry Award, and the Pushcart Prize. Three have been cited in Best American Short Stories.

She is founder and former president (2000-2009) of the Pay It Forward Foundation. As a professional public speaker she has addressed the National Conference on Education, twice spoken at Cornell University, met with Americorps members at the White House and shared a dais with Bill Clinton.

For more information, please visit the author at

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