Author: Emma Jane Unsworth
Describe the book in one word: Relatable
Star rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
First of all, I was lucky enough to win a copy of Adults on Twitter just before Christmas via the great folk @BoroughPress and @emjaneunsworth herself! The book I’ve read is a proof copy, (my first proof copy!), and honestly, it’s so exciting to read a proof, I feel very lucky. Adults has been a joy to read and review from start to finish. I didn’t win the book in exchange for a review, but it feels like a good way to officially launch (restart?) my book blog.
Adults centres on Jenny McLaine (BA HONS) who, at thirty-five, owns her own house, writes for a cool magazine and has hilarious friends just a message away. But the thing is…
Jenny uses social media as a façade, the way a lot of people do. It’s a mask to cover and hide what’s really going on and how she really feels, which is why I’ve said Adults is Bridget Jones for the social media generation. For clarification, I’m not saying Jenny McLaine is Bridget Jones, but what I am saying is both books offer a window to a specific time.
Adults is of its time and will no doubt be a huge success with women in their 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and beyond. At its’ core, it’s a book about love (self-love, friendship, family, lovers), loss (of people, of oneself, of a time), acceptance and authenticity. It’s about losing and rediscovering yourself while wading through the mire that is life in the year 2020.
We’re often so busy trying to ‘live our best lives’ and show people how great our lives are (via Instagram) and documenting everything – who is that even for? Do we document our lives to prove we exist and we’re ‘having a really great time, by the way’ or do we do it to show other people how great our existence is? I’m not sure. Either way, there is an unspoken pressure to ‘keep up with the Jones’ and present a curated version of life. It’s no surprise we are so filled with anxiety at the prospect of messing up, getting things wrong and failing.
And this is why Adults precisely hits the nail on the head when it comes to life today for a 30-something woman. It covers so many important topics – love, relationships, what we’re willing to accept in relationships, boundaries, parental bonds as an adult, childhood, parenthood, social media, pregnancy, miscarriages, beginnings, endings, success, failure, life. And so much more. There are also many great nuggets of wisdom, one of my favourites; brows should be sisters, not twins – YES, CARMEN!
But It’s not just the range of topics covered, it’s the relevance of those topics TODAY. Elizabeth Day has shone a light on Failure (and therefore success), Dolly Alderton shares her knowledge on love. Both are beautifully authentic and offer reassurance to women out there – you’re doing it right; things do go wrong but that’s okay! Adults and the books mentioned make it easier to own our shit and not get bogged down by the negative feelings we’ve been trained to feel.
Maybe I’m out the loop and these topics have been discussed for ages and I’m only just noticing because it’s relevant to me now or perhaps because people I can relate to or I admire or aspire to be like are talking about it. I’m not sure. But these books really talk to me. On some level, I think it’s related to the idea that the gap widens between each generation over time. I’m aware every generation faces its own struggles and strife, but what makes it worse for one generation over another? Are the problems the same but in a different shape? Sometimes its easier to relate to a book that reflects how you feel exactly than sitting down and chatting to someone who is lovely but doesn’t get it?
Adults caused me to ponder a lot; the way we use social media in life and in work, the instantaneous nature of life and the instant gratification that we seek out (or have been trained to seek out?) and the role of each generation in society. I suppose I never thought of myself as part of the ‘print generation’ but there are young people growing up today who have possibly never collected a magazine series – they never got to collect those little lyric cards from Smash Hits magazine 😦
If you read Adults, and you really must, it will take you on a journey. It may be far from your own, or not too dissimilar. Either way, you will learn a lot and it may help you get the perspective you’re looking for. It’s a work of fiction, I know, but it’s so so real. Trying to manage the balance between reality and expectations, learning how to deal with stuff we’ve not been prepared for and the importance of boundaries in every aspect of life. And aside from all of this, Adults is funny, laugh out loud and re-read funny. Very funny!
In summary, Adults presents an accurate reflection of contemporary life on many different levels.
Have you read Adults? What do you think?