Monday 26 August 2019

Book ~ "All Grown Up" (2017) Jami Attenberg

From Goodreads ~ 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.

But when Andrea’s niece finally arrives, born with a heartbreaking ailment, the Bern family is forced to reexamine what really matters. Will this drive them together or tear them apart? 

Andrea is soon going to be forty.  She lives alone in New York ... her mother has recently moved to New Hampshire to live with Andrea's brother and his wife to help them care for their disabled daughter who isn't expected to live much longer.  Andrea is still carrying around the emotional baggage of her father passing away when she was in her mid-teens of a heroin overdose and afterwards her mother having parties with just men in attendance who would get creepy with Andrea while her mother did nothing about it.  Artistic when she was younger, Andrea is in a job she hates, waiting and hoping to get fired.  She drinks too much, does drugs and sleeps with any man that comes along.

Sounds like a depressing story, right?  Well, it was.  The writing style for of the book was dark and depressing too.  The book didn't have a natural flow ... it seemed like each chapter was Andrea telling a rambling story.  For example, she talked about Matthew, a guy she was seeing, and their relationship.  Then a couple chapters later, she mentioned Matthew, who was a guy she'd been seeing.  Yes, I know who he is ... I read about him a couple chapters ago ... you don't have to tell me he's an ex-boyfriend.  As a head's up, there is swearing.

Andrea is not likeable.  Rather than fixing what's wrong in her life, she continues to plod along and feel sorry for herself.  The title is misleading as Andrea is not "all grown up" ... at forty years old, she has a lot of growing up to do.  None of the characters are especially likable.

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