Sunday, September 20, 2020

Review: All Adults Here by Emma Straub (audio)


Title: All Adults Here
Author: Emma Straub
Narrator: Emily Rankin
Published: May 2020, Penguin Audio
Length: 11 hours 5 minutes
Source: ALC via


A warm, funny, and keenly perceptive novel about the life cycle of one family--as the kids become parents, grandchildren become teenagers, and a matriarch confronts the legacy of her mistakes. From the New York Times bestselling author of Modern Lovers and The Vacationers.

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 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.


My thoughts: This is the first time I've read anything by Emma Straub. I've seen her books around and this one just called to me - being from a big family, I love reading about books that tackle families and their issues and boy does this one do that.

This is definitely a character-driven novel and I had no problem with that. I tend to enjoy those every now and again, and loved that this one included such interesting, quirky characters. Family dynamics are always so intriguing to me and when you start to get into how relationships are forged between parents and their children, I am always gung-ho. I just felt that at times, this one was a little all-over the place. Rather than focusing on a few issues, this tried to cover too many at once therefore never really digging too deep into any one issue.

Overall, it was a good story, but not necessarily my favorite. It is very much a slowburn and takes a while to meander to the point.

Audio thoughts: Emily Rankin does the narration for this book and I thought she did a fantastic job. Her pacing and intonation were spot on and I thought she infused just the right amount of emotion into her voice as needed. Had I been reading the print version of this book, I might not have finished, but the audio kept me engaged, so kudos to Emily Rankin!



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