Coming of age isn’t just for kids
Astrid Strick–mother to three grown-up children–has been keeping a secret. Just as she is finally warming up to share her secret with her family, a forgotten memory from her younger parenting days is jostled loose, and it’s not a good one. The secrets are multiplying, it seems, and so are her mistakes. Suddenly, Astrid realizes, she may not have been quite the parent she always thought she was. But to what consequence? And 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 baby. And Astrid’s 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 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 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.
What I thought
I LOVED this book. Absolutely loved it. If you love character-driven stories, like I do, then make sure to get your hands on a copy of this one. This book has so many layers, it would make a perfect book club selection. Straub explores so many topics: family dynamics, the lasting effects that parents can have on their children, how parent-child relationships change with age, sibling relationships, reckoning with the mistakes we make, love, gender, forgiveness, the list goes on. And while some readers found this to be “too much,” I thought Straub wrote with ease about, simply put, life. She really puts a finger on humanity, and her writing of this story amazed me. Life is crazy and beautiful and messy, and Straub perfectly exemplified that with this book. I loved every single character here, and they all felt so true-to-life and real to me that I feel truly sad that my time with them is through.
If you prefer stories that are solely plot-driven, then this book might not be for you. But if you are like me and enjoy reading about characters just trying to make it through this thing we call life, I cannot recommend this one highly enough. I am going to be scrambling to get my hands on Straub’s other books because I have a feeling she’s going to be a favorite author of mine, based off of how much I loved this book!