Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Book Review: The Adults

The Adults by Alison Espach (2011)

It's time for another book review! I'm glad I've been able to read more lately, since I missed it a lot. One of the reasons I missed it? Finding hidden gems such as this. It's rare for me to give a book 5 out of 5 stars on goodreads.com, so you know when I do I mean serious business. This book was compared to The Catcher in the Rye and The Perks of Being a Wallflower in one of the reviews I read of it. In a way, it is very similar to those two stories. The best part, though, is that this time it's told through a girl's prospective. The Adults is basically a coming of age story that follows the main character, Emily, through her young teenage life all the way to her upper twenties. The story is set during the 90s/early 2000s and mostly takes place in her rich suburban town in Connecticut. Very frequently, the story gives off a cynical vibe, but in a very relatable way (not in a way that will make you hate the character and her negativity, such as I felt when reading She's Come Undone.) I think this is one of those books that you'll either love because you find yourself relating to the character(s) and storyline so much, or you'll hate it because you can't relate to it at all. Of course, the only way to really find out is by reading it.

Coming of age stories are always some of my favorites and this is a unique one. At times, Alison Espach's prose is so captivating and beautifully written. Emily, the main character, is one of those characters that observes everything about her surroundings and the people she encounters. She sees everything that other people don't (or refuse to accept) and in a way she really is a "wallflower." The beginning of the book focuses on young Emily trying to figure out the adults in her life and their problems, not fully understanding any of what goes on around her. She isn't even really able to relate to people her own age and is constantly finding flaws in their behavior. She fits in only because she pretends to be one of them, but truthfully I don't think she really is. As Emily ages, the reader sees her go through a transformation that in my opinion was rather sad, because she starts to become more cynical and thinking in the same way "the adults" would. The funny part about this, though, is that most of us turn out this way. As children and teenagers we have a different view of the world, and don't always understand our parents, but as we grow older we start to feel the same way they do. We essentially become "the adults."

Despite all this, the book itself isn't a sad book. I think it is a realistic book with a realistic ending. I did have a problem with the main relationship focused on in the book because it is never really fully explained, but I think that's partially due to the fact that the character herself never fully understood the relationship either. Regardless, I definitely recommend this book if you're into coming of age stories or if you've read the other similar books and enjoyed those (even if you didn't enjoy those books, I'd still give this a shot because it's different enough that you might like it.)

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