Review | All Grown Up | Jami Attenberg
Publication Date: March 7, 2017
Page Count: 197
First Sentence: "You're in art school, you hate it, you drop out, you move to New York City."
Book Description: Andrea Bern is many things. A woman, single, an artist, a New Yorker, a sister, an aunt, a mother, a friend, the captain of the sinking ship that is her flesh. But when her therapist asks her the question, "who are you?", she finds herself unable to authentically answer the question. She is 39, single and childless, and is in a job that she doesn't love, doesn't hate. She exists. And, the crazy thing is, she seems to be fine with it, even though plenty of other people think she shouldn't be. The book explores what it means to be an adult, and as it turns out, that answer is different for everyone.
My thoughts: Another 2017 new release that I really enjoyed! It's a very tight little novel that wastes little time getting its point across. The first chapter is told in the third person but it (thankfully) switches to first. I really enjoyed how the author played with time. We learn about Andrea's life in a non-linear fashion and the chapters are often tied together by people or events. She is single and living in Brooklyn. There are times where she dabbles in drugs and has a variety of partners. She is a character that grows into being self aware and has a lot of humor. There are tough issues that she comes across (nearly every woman has a rape story) but the book is honest. I related to a lot of the struggles that Andrea has, like being pressured to marry, to settle down, to procreate. I loved reading about her interacting with her friends' babies (it's not that I don't care about seeing her baby. It's that I don't care about seeing any baby.) It almost reads like a collection of short stories. I can see myself picking this back up and reading a chapter when I need a laugh or when I'm pissed off, just to be reminded of the scores of other women out there that 'get it'. Naturally, I read this super fast, both because it's short and because I was so into knowing more about Andrea. There's no Mr. Big, there's not a buttoned up happy ending, but it is a very realistic story.
Favorite Quote: Sometimes I cry, too, for who I was as an artist and what my life could have been like if only I had kept going. I weep for my lost identities. I weep for my possibilities.
Rating: 4.5/5 I would recommend this book to women who might be battling the "shoulds".
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