Adults
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Adults

Emma Jane Unsworth

Jenny is unloved, unemployable and emotionally unfiltered. Her long-suffering friends seem sick of her and whilst her social media portrays her life as a bed of roses, it is more of a dying succulent.

Adults is what you want it to be. A misadventure of maturity, a satire on our age of self-promotion, a tender look at the impossibility of womanhood, a love story, a riot. And Emma Jane Unsworth is the only voice to hear it from. Adults is excruciating, a gut punch of hilarity and a book laden with truth that you will read again and again.

Review

Jenny McLaine, writer and Instagram addict, should have it together. She’s thirty-five, she owns her own house, and she’s a successful feminist columnist. Only, her famous photographer boyfriend has left her for one of the Insta-famous, she’s getting fired from her magazine, and barely able to afford her house, she’s had to let out the rooms. In the midst of all of this too, her best friend wants to break up and her medium mother is turning up unannounced on her doorstep to stay. Jenny’s story is told in two timelines; one in the present day, where she is doing battle with a mother straight out of the pages of Bridget Jones, only now she’s armed with Tarot cards and clairvoyance, and one twelve months in the past, where a miserable miscarriage heralds the end of her relationship with the narcissistic, self-obsessed Art. Amongst it all, she can’t look away from her phone, even as her life crumbles around her ears.

The boards of the social media-addicted millennials/modern-female-relationship-dynamics theatre have been well trodden in current literature. Emma Jane Unsworth (previously of Animals fame) hasn’t necessarily presented us with anything new here. But subject matter doesn’t have to be groundbreaking or brand-new to be revealing, devastating or insightful. And every now and then a writer comes along who is so acerbic and witty that it doesn’t matter if the story they’re telling feels familiar (for more mummy-blogger satire I’d recommend Sarah Selecky’s Radiant Shimmering Light). Unsworth is one of these writers; similar to Animals, her prose is razor sharp, vivid and hilarious. Adults is filled with snappy one liners and wry observations. And amongst its style and black humour, it has real heart.


Georgia Brough works as a bookseller at Readings Carlton.

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