In a series of connected vignettes, All Grown Up shares Andrea’s ongoing struggles with getting her life together and overcoming her childhood. It’s funny (often darkly so) and observant. It’s sharp, too, and there’s a strain of melancholy and dissatisfaction that runs through it. While everyone else seems to be moving forward with traditional life milestones, Andrea is 39 and the same person in the same place as she’s always been.
And is that really a problem?
I suppose you could call Andrea unlikeable, given how she can drive you a bit nuts with her selfishness and lack of motivation, but I liked her. Andrea is funny and has rough edges. She comes across as a real human being with issues and flaws, but also with insight and desires and a sense of humor. I like that she does what she wants, even if she regrets it or the situation turns out badly. I can also identify with her sensualist tendencies (there are some great passages about food and the eating thereof in this book).
How does one measure success at being a “grown-up”? How do you know when you are one? Do those traditional milestones (marriage, home ownership, car ownership, boat ownership) really matter at all? Maybe you know you’re a grown-up when you reach the point where you can be there for others even when it’s hard, create connections that matter to you, and when you can hold a sick baby’s hand.
I’m excited to read more of Attenberg’s work. She’s witty and insightful and creates emotional and truthful moments that pack a punch for how unexpectedly they creep up on you.