BKMT READING GUIDES
All Grown Up
by Jami Attenberg
Hardcover : 208 pages
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Who is Andrea Bern? When her therapist asks the question, Andrea knows the right things to ...
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.
Editorial ReviewAn Amazon Best Book of March 2017: A friend came to my apartment for the first time recently, frowning at the futon in the living room. “A futon?! You’re not in your 20s anymore!” Evidently a couch, an actual couch, is an indicator of adulthood—as is marriage, and the requisite 2.5 kids. By those standards, thirty-nine-year-old Andrea Bern, the unapologetically single and childless protagonist of Jami Attenberg’s bitingly funny and heartrending All Grown Up doesn’t fit the bill, and she’s fine with that (if her mother and much of society is not). But while living a life according to one’s own playbook has its perks, it also has pitfalls, and Andrea isn’t immune to a little existential crisis. Cue the passive aggressive trips to her therapist, a revolving door of unsuitable suitors, and the near-abandonment of one of the true loves of her life: her art. So steeped in ennui is she that Andrea (almost) fails to register when life tries to yank her from it; Her best friend’s seemingly perfect marriage is imploding, as well as her brother and sister-in-law’s—the result of trying to cope with their child’s precarious, and incurable illness. And they need Andrea, something that takes a little while to sink in, but once it does, she realizes that the road to adulthood is not paved with “real” furniture. It’s an epiphany that will punch you in the heart, and Attenberg has perfect aim. --Erin Kodicek, The Amazon Book Review
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