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While I was reading this novel, I found myself carrying it around with me so that I could read bits of it aloud to my friends. "Listen to this line," I would tell them. "Listen to this paragraph." Alison Espach doesn’t just understand the thrills and terrors and confusion that make up that rocky, winding path between childhood and adulthood, but she manages to convey them with such perfect pitch, such authenticity and humor and tenderness, that I found myself returning to passages again and again, simply for the pleasure of reading her prose. "Listen to the way she describes this scene," I told my friends. "Listen to the way she starts this chapter." "Listen to the way she ends it."
The Adults follows Emily Vidal, a sharp-eyed but sensitive girl, from early adolescence into early adulthood. As the novel opens, the cozy world of Emily’s affluent Connecticut upbringing begins to simultaneously dissolve and expand with the divorce of her parents. While her mother and father struggle to restructure their lives without each other, Emily is left to navigate her increasingly complicated world mostly on her own.
Coming-of-age stories seem to be a dime a dozen, maybe because everybody has one: We all grow up. Well, we try.
What makes The Adults unique is also, I believe, what makes it universal: The book froths with the frenetic energy of adolescence, the giddiness and the fear, the nastiness and vulnerability, the humor so deftly juxtaposed with the heartbreak that within the span of a single paragraph I would find myself laughing out loud, then aching with sadness.
There’s a fearlessness about Espach’s writing, an authority that makes this novel, once started, almost impossible to put down. The real accomplishment of The Adults, however, is not the unflinching insights or the razor-edged prose, but the underlying tenderness Espach conveys for her characters. These are deeply flawed and wounded people, characters that might, in less capable hands, be difficult to like and easy to judge. But through small moments and brief encounters, Espach expertly portrays the vast complexities of all her characters, making them loveable even when they’re not especially likable.
This is an honest and brutally funny novel about choices and mistakes, acceptance and forgiveness, about the people we love and the people we leave as we pass from childhood into adulthood. Whatever that might be.
Photo Credit: Miriam Berkley--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Please BEWARE!! The book contains graphic depictions of Pedophilia. I would rate this a zero if I could. I am shocked that this is even legally available. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Angela Runions
I was tired of reading books with similar characters and cheesey, overly sappy plotlines. I began reading 3 or 4 different books that I simply could not get interested in prior to... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Amber
I read the free sample on my kindle and was immediately captivated - unfortunately the story lost its edgy power midway through, and I found I was hoping it would end sooner than... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Jordan
At first I thought I was going to love the book, I liked how I was seeing the adults through a 13 yr olds eyes......that got boring. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Colleen M Spence
This book pulled me in immediately, I found myself smiling and laughing all too often. The book really makes you think, but it left you with a heartwarming feeling.Published 17 months ago by Kendra Desroches
Interesting. All the characters were really weird people, though. I mean, I know nobody's really "normal" and all families are dysfunctional, but these people just took... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Alexandra Preston
This was a book that could compare to Anthropology of an American Girl. The main character is interesting and sometimes I could relate to her, but there was nothing gripping about... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Tiffany
Sigh... finishing a book like this is bittersweet, because I didn't want it to end.
I just loved this story. Read more