Title: All Adults Here
Author: Emma Straub
Genre: Contemporary/Family drama
Narrator: Emily Rankin
Length: ~11 hours (368 pages)
Publisher: Riverhead Books, Penguin Audio
Release Date: May 4, 2020
Source: Libro.fm ALC
Triggers: cheating, death by bus crash, bullying, cyberbullying
When Astrid Strick witnesses a school bus accident in the center of town, it jostles loose a repressed memory from her young parenting days decades earlier. Suddenly, Astrid realizes she was not quite the parent she thought she’d been to her three, now-grown children. But to what consequence?
Astrid’s youngest son is drifting and unfocused, making parenting mistakes of his own. Her daughter is intentionally pregnant yet struggling to give up her own adolescence. And her eldest seems to measure his adult life according to standards no one else shares. But who gets to decide, so many years later, which long-ago lapses were the ones that mattered? Who decides which apologies really count? It might be that only Astrid’s thirteen-year-old granddaughter and her new friend really understand the courage it takes to tell the truth to the people you love the most.
In All Adults Here, Emma Straub’s unique alchemy of wisdom, humor, and insight come together in a deeply satisfying story about adult siblings, aging parents, high school boyfriends, middle school mean girls, the lifelong effects of birth order, and all the other things that follow us into adulthood, whether we like them to or not.
I was hesitant to listen to this because the genre is outside of my usual comfort zone, but I saw so many rave reviews that I wanted to read it for myself. I should’ve trusted my first instincts, because this was not for me.
I didn’t find the characters to be particularly likable or the plot to be particularly compelling. This is a character driven story, but I just didn’t feel invested in this small town family’s life. The audiobook was an easy listen, but I found it kind of boring.
I did like how the book explored sexuality and gender issues across multiple generations. While this family was dysfunctional, they were ultimately accepting and supportive of each other. However, many characters and issues in the story felt underdeveloped, and I struggled with the lack of a cohesive plot so much that I almost DNF this book.
Thank you to Libro.fm, Riverhead Books, and Penguin Audio for the audiobook listening copy.