There Are No Grown-Ups: A midlife coming-of-age story

Pamela Druckerman

There Are No Grown-Ups: A midlife coming-of-age story
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There Are No Grown-Ups: A midlife coming-of-age story

Pamela Druckerman

Author of the no.1 bestseller French Children Don’t Throw Food Pamela Druckerman reveals the things it took her forty years to learn:

There are no grown-ups. Everyone else is winging it too.

Does it ever feel like everyone - except you - is a bona-fide adult? Do you wonder how real grown-ups get to be so mysteriously capable and wise? When she turns 40, Pamela Druckerman wonders whether her mind will ever catch up with her face.

With frank personal stories and witty maxims, Druckerman hilariously navigates the unexplored zone between young and not-so-young. There Are No Grown-Ups is a midlife coming-of-age story, a quest for wisdom, self-knowledge and the right pair of pants. It’s a book for readers of all ages about - finally - becoming yourself.

You know you’re in your forties when…

· You’re matter-of-fact about chin hair.

· You become impatient while scrolling down to your year of birth.

· Your parents have stopped trying to change you.

· You don’t want to be with the cool people anymore; you want to be with your people.

· You know that ‘Soul mate’ isn’t a pre-existing condition. It’s earned over time.

· You know there are no grown-ups. Everyone is winging it, some just do it more confidently.


I love Pamela Druckerman’s writing. Her last book, French Children Don’t Throw Food, was, and still is, an international bestseller. To be clear, she is not the author of the French Women Don’t Get Fat books. French Children Don’t Throw Food is also not just a book for parents. It is an original and brilliant hybrid of memoir and cultural analysis – imagine Almost French meets Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother with a dash of Nora Ephron (to whom Druckerman is often compared).

What makes Druckerman’s writing in both French Children Don’t Throw Food and her latest book, There Are No Grown-Ups, so entertaining and addictive is her insatiable curiosity about humans and culture, her incessant research, and her extraordinary, comical honesty. Few people could write a book that tackles a threesome as a fortieth birthday present, different cultural attitudes towards ageing, and sudden, life-threatening illness with such a consistent spirit of enquiry, humour, and humility.

In examining the approach of middle age, specifically from within the forties, Druckerman interrogates the personal, political, and social elements of her subject in her inimitable way. She interviews experts, researches extensively, and frequently uses herself as a guinea pig. She is always seeking a better understanding of what is happening around her, and she elaborates on this need and its origins in the course of her explorations.

I was shocked to learn what she had been dealing with while on the press tour for her last book, and touched by what she reveals about the things that drive her. While Druckerman brings her unique perspective to many of the expected topics and conundrums of ageing, what she writes about the positive changes age brings to a career, to a writer and to a person’s sense of self, are of particular interest. I was worried I would be disappointed; I wasn’t.

Elke Power is the editor of Readings Monthly.

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