All Grown Up
I picked this up after reading several raves. The marketing--and I--wanted this to be an empowering story of an almost-40-year old who is single and childfree by choice, pressures and opinions be damned. Instead, Andrea seems to have drifted through her life, waiting for "real life" to happen to her, until suddenly she wakes up at 40, alone, in a job she hates, and uncertain how she fits into the lives of her family and friends. Her flailing is relatable--I think most people have moments of doubt about their own adulthood--as is her frustration with her own safe choices and abandonment of her drive to create. Still, I didn't love this. The driver to move Andrea from self-centeredness to a committed, adult member of her family didn't feel fully developed, and because she spent so much time avoiding the situation, I didn't feel invested either.
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From the publisher’s description:
From the New York Times best-selling author of The Middlesteinscomes a wickedly funny novel about a thirty-nine-year-old single, childfree woman who defies convention as she seeks connection.
Who is Andrea Bern? When her therapist asks the question, Andrea knows the right things to say: she’s a designer, a friend, a daughter, a sister. But it’s what she leaves unsaid—she’s alone, a drinker, a former artist, a shrieker in bed, captain of the sinking ship that is her flesh—that feels the most true. Everyone around her seems to have an entirely different idea of what it means to be an adult: her best friend, Indigo, is getting married; her brother—who miraculously seems unscathed by their shared tumultuous childhood—and sister-in-law are having a hoped-for baby; and her friend Matthew continues to wholly devote himself to making dark paintings at the cost of being flat broke. But when Andrea’s niece finally arrives, born with a heartbreaking ailment, the Bern family is forced to reexamine what really matters. Will this drive them together or tear them apart?
Told in gut-wrenchingly honest, mordantly comic vignettes, All Grown Up is a breathtaking display of Jami Attenberg’s power as a storyteller, a whip-smart examination of one woman’s life, lived entirely on her own terms.