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All Grown Up
Cover of All Grown Up
All Grown Up
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From the New York Times best-selling author of The Middlesteins comes a wickedly funny novel about a thirty-nine-year-old single, child-free woman who defies convention as she seeks connection.

From the New York Times best-selling author of The Middlesteins comes a wickedly funny novel about a thirty-nine-year-old single, child-free woman who defies convention as she seeks connection.

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  • Publisher's Weekly

    January 16, 2017
    Attenberg’s (Saint Mazie) new novel is a bildungsroman with a twist, adapting a coming-of-age narrative to a protagonist who is not as young as her immaturity sometimes suggests. In her 30s, New Yorker Andrea Bern is a gifted artist whose talents don’t quite extend to mastering adulthood as those around her understand it. While her friends dedicate themselves to building families or careers and her brother and sister-in-law cope with a terminally ill child, Andrea seems stuck in a holding pattern. She abandons the art making she loves, clings to a dead-end job, and embraces drinking and rote sexual encounters; though not making much headway, she sees a therapist for nearly a decade in an attempt to grapple with inner wounds, notably the overdose death of her musician father in the family apartment when she was 13. The novel’s darkly comic voice is a delight to read, capturing Andrea’s sharp insights as well as her self-destructiveness, while brief chapters that shift back and forth in time effectively convey both the chaos and the stasis of her personal landscape.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from January 1, 2017
    Deeply perceptive and dryly hilarious, Attenberg's (Saint Mazie, 2015, etc.) 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. But without the benchmarks of "grown up" success--an engagement, a husband, a baby--Andrea is left to navigate her own shifting understanding of adulthood."Why is being single the only thing people think of when they think of me? I'm other things, too," Andrea says, much to the delight of her therapist, who wants to know, then, what exactly those other things are. She is a woman, Andrea says. A designer who works in advertising; a New Yorker; technically, a Jew. A friend, she tells her therapist. A daughter, a sister, an aunt. Here are the things that Andrea does not say: she's alone. A drinker. A former artist. A shrieker in bed. At 39, Andrea is neither an aspirational figure nor a cautionary tale of urban solitude. She is, instead, a human being, a person who, a few years ago, got a pair of raises at work and paid off her debt from her abandoned graduate program and then bought some real furniture, as well as proper wine glasses. And still she does not fully compute to the people around her, people whose "lives are constructed like buildings, each precious but totally unsurprising block stacked before your eyes." Everyone is married or marrying, parenting or pregnant, and it's not so much that she's lusting after these things, specifically--neither marriage nor babies is her "bag," anyway--so much as it's that her lack of them puts her at odds with the adult world and its definitions of progress. 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: her gorgeous, earthy best friend whose perfect marriage maybe isn't; her much younger co-worker; her friend, the broke artist, who is also her ex-boyfriend and sometimes her current one. And above all, her brother and his wife, whose marriage, once a living affirmation of the possibility of love, is now crumbling under the pressure of their terminally ill child. Wry, sharp, and profoundly kind; a necessary pleasure.

    COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    November 1, 2016
    Author of the New York Times best-selling and Los Angeles Times Book Prize short-listed The Middlesteins, Attenberg lays bare the soul of Andrea Bern, a successful designer but at 39 still unmarried and childless, an artist manque, and convinced that everyone around her is managing adulthood better than she is. Then her niece is born with a tragic condition, and Andrea's entire focus shifts. With a 30,000-copy first printing and an eight-city tour.

    Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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    Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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