All Grown Up

30971707Author: Jamie Attenberg
Genre: Fiction
“From the New York Times, best-selling author of The Middlesteins comes a wickedly funny novel about a thirty-nine-year-old single, childfree woman who defies convention as she seeks connection.”

I picked this book up from the new releases shelves at work. It had a cool graphic cover and it revolved around a topic that probably every 20 something in college thought about: am I adulting right?

The positive reviews for this book mimic the New York Times review I used as a summary. They talk about how strong and inspirational the main character, Andrea Bern, was for living her life and not falling into society’s idea of an accomplished woman.

I disagree. I very much disagree.

Nothing about Andrea Bern was inspirational, uplifting or defiant. Andrea Bern was a depressed, unmotivated, coward of an adult who wanted her life to better than it was but wanted to put no effort towards it.

That might sound harsh but Andrea was always sad. She was sad about things that were her fault, that she wanted to change but was too afraid to try and fail.

For example, Andrea went to school to be a fine artist in Chicago. Instead of going to class and applying for her MBA, she latched on to an artist she found inspirational and stopped going to class to be her live-in, unofficial, unpaid assistant. It didn’t work out, she dropped out of school and her sister in law got her job that made her money but didn’t make her happy. In the book, Andrea states that being an artist is the only thing that makes her happy but, she couldn’t handle being an artist because she falls in love with her art and people criticizing it would drive her crazy.

Through her memories, Andrea comes off as her own worst enemy. She’s not married because she’s happier being single as reviews would lead you to believe. She’s single because she can’t form relationships long enough for marriage to even come into the equation. She’s too impulsive or too confrontational or she imprints on men she has no chance with. The lamenting of her single status is a constant in the book.

Andrea also firmly lives in the land of misery loves company. Is she happy when her brother and best friend have healthy lives and happy spouses? Sure. But when her best friend’s marriage ends and her brother’s start to strain under the weight of a terminally ill child, she feels slightly happier that they have a connection no matter how miserable that connection is.

I didn’t find this book anything other than pathetic and confusing. If you want to read this book, I wouldn’t stop you but I also have no reason to recommend it either. 3 stars.


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