Book Talk: All Adults Here: A Novel by Emma Straub
" Brimming with kindness, forgiveness, humor and love and yet (magically) also a page turner that held me captive until it was finished. This is Emma Straub's absolute best and the world will love it. I love it."
About the Book
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.
Reviews and What Readers Say
“ A totally engaging and smart book about the absolutely marvelous messiness of what makes up family; a wonderful book. ”
“Delivers a Dose of Normal Life, Right When We Need It. . . Straub cements her status as a master of the domestic ensemble drama.”
“ A big yellow bus came barreling down the street, hit Barbara as she was standing by her car, and whoosh, that was it. Astrid didn’t even like Barbara, but this was too much to take. Like everything in this small Hudson Valley town, everyone knew everyone, but no one knew all theIr secrets.Emma Straub, the author, has that special thing that grabs our attention and keeps it. Her characters are so out there, that I instantly like them, not all, but most. In this case, Astrid Strict, the main character around whom everyone else revolves, has the instant likability. She has credibility, 68, widowed, a new found female lover, 3 children, grandchildren, and lives in Clapham, New York, the kind of small town many of us yearn for. Her children are all individuals in their own right, her daughter, Porter, raising goats to make cheese, is pregnant with the assistance of a donor. She has lovers of her own, just not for this baby making. Nicky, her son, has sent his daughter, Cecilia, to live with grammy after a school issue, and her oldest, Eliot with his wife and boisterous twins. It is this family that most of the fun and serious stuff surrounds.As in all families,there are troubles and pent up issues not resolved. Some of them come out spontaneously, others take there time, and rupture in the middle of a family get together. This review is being written in the beginning of a pandemic, and we are all urged to tell our families and friends of our love. Of course, with that comes the apologies and forgiveness factors. This is a stirring book that took me out of my everyday life, and had me giggling and wanting more. Astrid Strict is just that kind of person. ” —Prisrob, TOP 50 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
“ I’ve been looking forward to reading Emma Straub’s All Adults Here since its cover was revealed months ago. Straub has four other popular books, and she and her husband own Books Are Magic, an independent bookstore that’s core to the NYC (and, more specifically, Brooklyn) community.I read the book over two days one weekend. It starts out fun and immediately endearing, with a chapter that features one of the main characters, Astrid. She is the matriarch of a family from a small town a few hours north of NYC, and her voice comes across strong and quirky. That morning, she witnesses a woman she’s known her whole life get hit and killed by a bus. This sets off a chain reaction in which she really starts to examine the life she’s lived and get more intentional about the one she’s currently living.We also meet many other members of her family, including her granddaughter Cecilia, who comes to live with her to switch junior high schools; her daughter Porter, who owns a specialty goat cheese farm and has decided to have a baby via artificial insemination; her other two sons; and even more orbital characters who become loved ones to us, the reader, as well as to these characters.We never lose the fun and the voice-iness of the book, but little by little, Straub peels back layers on these characters’ lives that reveal them to be complex, flawed, deeply beautiful people with rich pasts and legitimate motivations.Also, you may not immediately know it from the book’s synopsis, but this story features some beautiful queer characters and storylines, which seemed to me to be done so, so well.This book is about the mistakes we make, both as children and as parents, and that even the best of intentions can’t prevent them altogether. All we can do is try our best, learn from the mistakes, and work together to heal from them. It’s about what we would see if we could actually spend a day in another person’s shoes. It’s about the importance of empathy and communication and family and understanding.” —Deedi Brown, Amazon Readers Review
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Emma Straub is the New York Times-bestselling author of three other novels The Vacationers, Modern Lovers, Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures, and the short story collection Other People We Married. Her books have been published in twenty countries. She and her husband own Books Are Magic, an independent bookstore in Brooklyn, New York.