Who is Andrea Bern? Read more...
Who is Andrea Bern? When her therapist asks the question, Andrea knows the right things to say: she's a designer, a friend, a daughter, a sister. But it's what she leaves unsaid--she's alone, a drinker, a former artist, a shrieker in bed, captain of the sinking ship that is her flesh--that feels the most true. Everyone around her seems to have an entirely different idea of what it means to be an adult: her best friend, Indigo, is getting married; her brother--who miraculously seems unscathed by their shared tumultuous childhood--and sister-in-law are having a hoped-for baby; and her friend Matthew continues to wholly devote himself to making dark paintings at the cost of being flat broke. But when Andrea's niece finally arrives, born with a heartbreaking ailment, the Bern family is forced to reexamine what really matters. Will this drive them together or tear them apart? Told in gut-wrenchingly honest, mordantly comic vignettes, All Grown Up is a breathtaking display of Jami Attenberg's power as a storyteller, a whip-smart examination of one woman's life, lived entirely on her own terms.
- ISBN-13: 9780544824249
- ISBN-10: 0544824245
- Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
- Publish Date: March 2017
- Page Count: 208
- Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 0.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.7 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2017-01-16
- Reviewer: Staff
Attenbergs (Saint Mazie) new novel is a bildungsroman with a twist, adapting a coming-of-age narrative to a protagonist who is not as young as her immaturity sometimes suggests. In her 30s, New Yorker Andrea Bern is a gifted artist whose talents dont quite extend to mastering adulthood as those around her understand it. While her friends dedicate themselves to building families or careers and her brother and sister-in-law cope with a terminally ill child, Andrea seems stuck in a holding pattern. She abandons the art making she loves, clings to a dead-end job, and embraces drinking and rote sexual encounters; though not making much headway, she sees a therapist for nearly a decade in an attempt to grapple with inner wounds, notably the overdose death of her musician father in the family apartment when she was 13. The novels darkly comic voice is a delight to read, capturing Andreas sharp insights as well as her self-destructiveness, while brief chapters that shift back and forth in time effectively convey both the chaos and the stasis of her personal landscape. (Mar.)