All Adults Here

Emma Straub

All Adults Here
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All Adults Here

Emma Straub

Coming of age isn’t just for kids.

In a small town in upstate New York, Astrid Strick - mother to three grown-up children - is keeping the kind of secret that once upon a time would have rocked the very foundations of her careful, suburban life. But thankfully the world is changing and, with it, her family. The time has come for Astrid to confront past mistakes and present truths. But is it too late to set things right?

Astrid’s youngest son, Nicky, is drifting and unfocused, making parenting mistakes of his own. Her single daughter, Porter, is pregnant yet struggling to give up her own adolescence in time to greet a daughter. And her eldest, Elliot, seems to measure his adult life according to standards no one else shares. But who gets to decide, so many years later, which were the mistakes that mattered? It might be that only Astrid’s thirteen-year-old granddaughter, Cecelia, and her new friend really understand the courage it takes to tell the truth to the people you love the most.

Emma Straub’s unique alchemy of wisdom, humor, and insight come together in this deeply satisfying story about how to survive inside a family, no matter what follows us into adulthood. Whether you are the eldest, the youngest, the middle, the only - this is a book for the adult hiding in you.   

Review

There have been many novels recently showcasing the histories, rivalries, and loyalties of adult siblings. These includes titles such as The Jetsetters by Amanda Eyre Ward, The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo, and Your House Will Pay by Steph Cha. All Adults Here tells the story of the Strick siblings; the title is an ironic nod to the myriad ways each sibling is not handling ‘adulting’.

Elliot, the eldest son, is grappling with insecurity about business ventures, and a deep aversion to his home life where his twin toddler sons run rampant. Elliot has long-held beliefs that he just isn’t ‘good enough’ and he is nervous about a secret business venture that could entirely change their small upstate New York town, Clapham.

Porter, the middle child, has decided to have a baby on her own. However, she is still entangled with her (married) high school boyfriend, and she hasn’t managed to tell her family about her pregnancy … yet.

The youngest son, Nicky, is the only sibling to have escaped Clapham. He and his wife live in Brooklyn with their thirteenyear- old daughter, Cecelia, who may well be the most mature member of the Strick family. However, Cecelia has had a runin with the ‘Queen Bee’ of her friendship group, and Nicky and his wife have sent Cecelia to stay with her grandmother, Astrid. All Cecelia needs is an adult to help her make sense of what happened to her in Brooklyn, but her father is perpetually stoned and her family in Clapham are preoccupied with their own struggles.

Emma Straub masterfully ties these narratives together with the voice of the matriarch, Astrid. Astrid has something urgent and exciting to tell her children and grandchildren, and this announcement sets off a chain of events that has everyone looking to the past and asking what it means to take responsibility in the present.


Annie Condon works as a bookseller at Readings Hawthorn.

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