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All Grown Up Hardcover – 6 Apr 2017

4.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 207 pages
  • Publisher: Serpent's Tail; Main edition (6 April 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1781257043
  • ISBN-13: 978-1781257043
  • Product Dimensions: 14.4 x 2.4 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 10,180 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


Hilarious, courageous and mesmerizing from page one, ALL GROWN UP is a little gem that packs a devastating wallop. It's that rare book I'm dying to give all my friends so we can discuss it deep into the night. I'm in awe of Jami Attenberg. (Maria Semple, author of Where'd You Go Bernadette)

One of the smartest and truest novels I've read about being a single woman (Hadley Freeman Guardian)

Jami Attenberg has written her frankest, funniest, and most riveting and heartbreaking book yet. In Andrea, she has created a character women will be talking about for years; she has opened the door for us to see ourselves in literature in a new way, writing with skill and fearlessness few others can match (Emily Gould, author of Friendship)

Is all life junk - sparkly and seductive and devastating - just waiting to be told correctly by someone who will hold our hand and walk with us a while confirming that what we're living is true. This is a good proud urban book, a sad and specific blast for the fearless to read. Thank you Jami. (Eileen Myles, author of Chelsea Girls)

What a voice. Honest and hilarious, unflinching and unapologetic, Jami Attenberg writes what it is to be single, sexual, and childfree by choice. I read the first page of ALL GROWN UP and knew the novelist was going to outdo herself. I am happy to report that she most certainly did (Helen Ellis, author of American Housewife)

The literature of sex and the single woman has been in the doldrums since Carrie got married and Bridget had her baby, so three cheers for this warts-and-all portrait of a woman trying to find her place in the world and in her own nuclear family now she is all grown up ... This is a novel about how to step up when your smug married friend suddenly gets divorced, or when your annoying mum really needs you; about "being there" for people when you don't even know where "there" is. It has hope, in spades. (Katy Guest Guardian 2017-04-01)

Think BBC's Fleabag set in Brooklyn ... Attenberg has a compassionate eye for the gulfs that open between people, and how they can be bridged. (Stylist)

Expect to see a copy on every sunlounger this summer. (Vogue)

I have never in my life finished the last page of a book and wanted to open to page one and start all over again. Jami Attenberg, this book is outstanding (Attica Locke)

Jami Attenberg's Andrea is the most addicting female protagonist voice I have read in years, with her cutting observations on human relationships. This witty journey through a mess of men, female friendships, family and boozy urban existence positions the single girl not as object to be fixed but as contemporary sage and seer: the ultimate witness of truth in love today (Melissa Broder, author of So Sad Today)

"All Grown Up is one of those rare books -even the greatest writers often only get one or two in their careers- in which an author's unique sensibility meets with the story she was born to tell. This fractured, soulful portrait of a determinedly independent woman -a woman whose radical independence often puts her at odds with a misunderstanding society- is vital reading for women and men alike." (Stefan Merrill Block, author of The Story of Forgetting and The Storm at the Door)

Jami Attenberg's sharply drawn protagonist, Andrea, has such a riveting, propulsive voice that ALL GROWN UP is hard to put down, but I urge you to resist reading it in one sitting. Both the prose and the author's knowing excavation of one woman's desires, compromises, strengths and fears deserve closer attention. Like Andrea herself, this novel is beautiful and brutal, intelligent and funny, frank and sexy (Cynthia D'Aprix McSweeney, author of New York Times bestselling The Nest)

Jami Attenberg's ALL GROWN UP is one part Denis Johnson, one part Grace Paley, but all her. Every sentence pulls taut and glows--electric, gossipy, searing fun that is also a map to how to be more human. (Alexander Chee, author of The Queen of the Night)

Andrea, 39, is totally single. No kids, no men, nothing keeping her from living her life to its full potential, which she does. Until her niece is born with a tragic illness, and Andrea's whole family is forced to confront their values, their lifestyles, and their choices. Told in vignettes, All Grown Up asks what happens after you've got the whole "adult" thing under control. (Glamour, 'Best Books to Read in 2017')

Smart, heartfelt, and really freakin' funny. (Sara Novic Elle.com, '25 Most Anticipated Books by Women for 2017')

Deeply perceptive and dryly hilarious, Attenberg's latest novel follows Andrea Bern: on the cusp of 40, single, child-free by choice, and reasonably content, she's living a life that still, even now, bucks societal conventions. . . . Structured as a series of addictive vignettes-they fly by if you let them, though they deserve to be savored-the novel is a study not only of Andrea, but of her entire ecosystem. . . .Wry, sharp, and profoundly kind; a necessary pleasure. (Kirkus Reviews (Starred))

Andrea's story is stinging, sweet, and remarkably fleshed out in relatively few pages. Attenberg follows her best-selling family novel, The Middlesteins (2012) with a creative, vivid tableau of one woman's whole life, which almost can't help but be a comment on all the things women ought to be and to want, which Attenberg conveys with immense, aching charm (Booklist (Starred))

Attenberg is one of our finest contemporary storytellers, and here, with her trademark clever, witty voice, she tackles the age-old question plaguing people of all ages: When do we know if we're actually all grown up? (Nylon)

Attenberg knows how to make a reader laugh and feel. This novel takes a hard look at what it means to be a woman living on her own terms. (Martha Stewart Living 'Page-Turners For 2017')

Positively bristles with energy and newness ... Attenberg has created a tangle of characters with flesh on their bones, and Andrea is the most multifaceted of them all ... a delight and a superb character study. (Tanya Sweeney Sunday Business Post)

Sharply funny ... I didn't want Andrea as a best friend, but I felt enriched by her take on the world. (Financial Times)

If you ever feel like you're howling into the abyss and would prefer to howl with laughter instead, you should befriend Andrea Bern of All Grown Up, as she certainly shares your pain. (Evening Standard)

Book Description

An enthralling confession of a woman contending with the outside world's expectations of who she should be

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book is definitely one for the reading club list if you have one or are thinking of setting one up. People like me who fall into the category of frustrated writer don’t have time for book clubs. We are simply too busy reading and writing (oh, and reviewing!). But that’s OK because this book is not just a novel about being a single woman. There is so much more to it. The fact that its protagonist Andrea chooses to be single and remain childless is kind of over-ridden by bigger events. Modern women all like to be fate masters and soul captains because it makes for a much smoother journey. The grown-up truth is that however much we plan and proceed, there is always something hiding round the next corner, and we have to navigate our way round it.
I felt a tad envious of Andrea’s flat, her career and her social whirl. She seems to be able to achieve financial independence and then some with minimal effort, other than staying resolutely single and childless. But was the driving force behind this her own mother’s need to provide for the family when the dysfunctional father passes away? How much is programmed into us before we attain adulthood? Two more for the book club. Is Andrea one of these people who feels she doesn’t deserve to be happy? Is she afraid that she’ll get too dependent upon somebody and he will let her down? More questions for the book club.

There is much to applaud here. The writing is clear, concise and no-nonsense. I had a few problems with the drinking and therapy. I felt Andrea needed to address the booze rather than find different ways of explaining what it was exactly she wanted from life, the world, and any potential partner.

More questions for the book club: Does every girl secretly want to get married?
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Format: Hardcover
“They tell you that you grow up, you get a job, you fall in love, you get married, you buy a home, you have children, you do all that, you get to be an adult. […] But you can’t be something you’re not. You can’t.”

All Grown Up, by Jami Attenberg, introduces the reader to Andrea Bern, an intelligent and independent woman on the cusp of forty, living alone in New York City. Andrea is single and child free by choice. She has a decent job, even if it isn’t the one she once dreamed of, and lives in an acceptable apartment. She carries emotional baggage but isn’t convinced therapy will help. She drinks, enjoys sex, and ponders the direction her life is taking, if this is what it is to be.

Told in a series of vignettes, the book explores Andrea’s relationships with family and friends as she watches many of them settle into the lives society expects – marriage, babies, discontent. There is much humour in the telling but what stands out is the raw honesty.

People come and go from Andrea’s life. Their experiences affect them and all they interact with as needs and desires progress. Individual choices don’t always segue with those made by loved ones. Is it possible to ever truly know someone when time only moves forward and disparate actions, especially within one’s varied relationships, auger personal development?

Andrea has no interest in children. She distances herself from those whose lives now revolve around their offspring. She observes how others regard her, some chafing against how she behaves. Whilst she recognises that her life is not ideal – she feels lonely sometimes, frustrated by her job – those who have chosen to follow society’s conventions have issues to deal with too.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In turns comfortable and uncomfortable. Like a warm bath that needs more hot water but you can't be bothered to turn on the tap because you're so cosy in that one position. This book renders a world so absolutely, and I didn't want to leave it.
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Format: Hardcover
Has anyone ever told you to grow up and act your age? Tell you that it’s about time you got your act together and settled down before it’s too late? What if you weren’t sure whether you wanted to do either, what if you wanted to go against society’s norms and not be a wife and mother, but to stay carefree and single?

Andrea is fast approaching 40, she’s single and child free. She works in advertising, a job she hates, and has her own apartment in New York. Many would look at Andrea and feel envious of her life style. Andrea however, doesn’t really know how she feels. She knows that she is unhappy, but she only wants happiness on her terms. She’s not sure if she is single by choice, or whether she just bores of men easily.

Her life is far from straight forward. By flitting back and forth in time, randomly, starting back in her adolescence years, you get to witness why Andrea has such a complex life, giving you a better understanding of how, and why, she feels and acts the way she does today. You get to meet her less than perfect parents (to be honest no-one is perfect). Her mother a very opinionated woman, an activist who fought for what she felt was right. Her father a drug addict. Not only did her family shape her life, her work colleagues and friends played a part too.

Her best friend Indigo has settled down, gotten married and had a child. Even her brother has gotten his act together, and now he and his wife have a baby daughter. It is this period in Andrea’s life story that I felt an emotional attachment to. Her niece has a terminal illness, as a mother of a child with a life threatening, incurable illness, this touched emotions in me which I buried deep within the last few years.
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