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All Grown Up: A Novel by Jami Attenberg
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All Grown Up: A Novel

by Jami Attenberg

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175767,867 (3.82)12

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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
So smart, so fun, so hipster. 4.5 stars. ( )
  KimMeyer | Sep 7, 2017 |
Attenberg, author of The Middlesteins, has written a “wickedly funny” novel about Andrea, a thirty-nine-year-old single, child-free, woman who defies convention. We learn a lot about her life bit by bit through disjointed scenes – some funny, some painful – that span from her childhood to the present. Andrea grew up in New York with her activist mother, a drug and alcohol addicted father, and a musician brother. She is eternally single, does not particularly like children, has a tendency to drink too much, and cycles through unsatisfying short relationships. The Jewishness of the novel, like its feminism, is quiet but persistent. Andrea eats bagels and whitefish salad and goes to therapy. However, Jewishness is an aspect but not the defining aspect of Andrea’s identity. It exists without fanfare. Her singleness is a non-issue. As Andrea approaches 40, most people would think she is not a full-fledged adult. What do you think?
  HandelmanLibraryTINR | Sep 4, 2017 |
*Update: I changed to 5 stars, because the longer I sit with it, the more reasons I come up with that I loved it.
I think I would give this 4.5 stars. I started off unsure because the character seemed so lost and unlikeable, but as the book moves she is really just a person like all of us. The writing is unbelievable- there are points I laughed out loud, but also some really sad parts. ( )
  sarahy531 | Aug 16, 2017 |
I almost feel like I shouldn't have liked this book. It focuses on the life of an art school dropout who works for an advertising firm in New York City, drinks too much, navel-gazes a lot, sleep a with a lot of completely unsuitable men, and feels generally unfulfilled with her life and her single status. Not the sort of person I generally find interesting or easy to empathize with in a novel. But, damn it, Jami Attenberg makes me care about her, and relate to her, and feel for her. It's something in the writing, I think. The writing is terrific. It's a very clean style, nothing that feels fancy, but the words are all perfectly chosen and it's a delight to read. Which seems a bit odd to say, because the protagonist's life, in general, is not a happy one. But it is, anyway. And, in the end, it left me with a beautiful, painful knot of emotion in my stomach, which was unexpected and impressive.

The structure is odd, because each chapter reads like its own tiny short story, with facts we already knew about from past chapters re-explained or characters re-introduced as if we might never have seen them before. It sounds as if it should be annoying, but it works. It doesn't feel repetitive, but rather as if we're seeing aspects of the main character's life in a relevant new context each time. And the end result very much does feel like it adds up to a novel.

I doubt I would ever have picked this one up on my own initiative -- I got it from a book subscription service -- but I'm really, really glad I read it. ( )
  bragan | Aug 7, 2017 |
I loved this! It was disjointed, all over the place, and that made it surprisingly wonderful and relatable. It's very real, and written in a way that feels like a friend telling you a story. It's a quick read, and it covers the gamut between hilarity and heartbreak, so settle in and experience it. ( )
  JOlson724 | Jul 29, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
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You're in art school, you hate it, you drop out, you move to New York City.
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To be an artist means a lifetime of being told no, with the occasional yes showing up just to give you enough hope to carry on.
"...Why are we supposed to feel bad for wanting to feel good?"
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0544824245, Hardcover)

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.

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? Told in gut-wrenchingly honest, mordantly comic vignettes, All Grown Up is a breathtaking display of Jami Attenberg’s power as a storyteller, a whip-smart examination of one woman’s life, lived entirely on her own terms.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 20 Oct 2016 19:41:10 -0400)

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