Cover Image: Adults

Adults

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Member Reviews

Oh this sums up today’s obsession with social media and their vacuous lives. I did not like the characters and can’t identify with them at all. Sorry a thumbs down from me#NetGalley#Adults
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Right from the start of this book I struggled with it.  I immediately found the protagonist self obsessed and flaky and thorougly irritating.  I kept with it, often falling asleep out of sheer boredom.  Then I found that I could keep vaguely interested by skipping through the tedium of it.  It became marginally less dull when the mother made an appearance, but only marginally.

Quite frankly, reading this was a waste of my life.  I hoped it'd get better... it didn't! The first star is for writing it and the second is being generous because the spelling was ok... zzzzz
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I absolutely loved this book. I started off finding Jenny vacuous and self-centred, she was absolutely maddening! But the more you get to know her the more you can relate, even if not directly. It also confirmed what I feel like we all knew: men are trash. A funny, sad, but uplifting book about life, love, social media, and being a woman in your 30s. Plus she was from the north west and who doesn’t love that!
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This book is 100% a book about and for todays society, talking about the stress and anxiety when it comes to social media and technology. In today’s society there is this obsession surrounding technology and social media and the amount of time that we spend on them. How we can be hanging out with friends, family, partners and still have our heads in our phones. (Think about the last time you watched a film, we’re in a queue, or on a public transport and you didn’t go on your phone at the same time). How is can take over your life. This book sums up that obsession brilliantly! This is all done and highlighted in such a funny way and it had me laughing constantly, even more so with how much it spoke to my introverted self in certain parts.

I am not innocent of all this. Especially during Lockdown, I have become increasingly addicted to TikTok, YouTube and Twitter. How when me and my partner watch a movie, at some point during the film, me and my partner will pull out our phone and begin playing a game or googling why the actor/tress looks familiar. It’s got to the point where we have phone free movie nights! 

The main character of this book, Jenny, was so self obsessed, shallow, insecure, overthinking and worrying about everything, especially the digital world. Worrying and stressing about every post, every email, every digital finger print that she was putting out there; having her friend double check everything. Having her double check emails from herself to her boyfriend, which should be personal, before and after she sent them, which got me thinking that this was either a great friendship, or a seriously one-sided friendship. The anxiety and insecurity felt suffocating and had me wondering why she was doing it all. Why post all those posts when you're constantly worried about what you're saying, how you've said it and how many likes and replies you're getting?.

This book felt and read like a satirical take on society today, that did have me laughing in parts. However, it made me go from fully on belly laughing at certain points, to not wanting to pick this book back up because I didn’t want to continuing reading from this needy and moany character. This book is 100% character driven with no real plot, other than the constant barrage of messages of how “social media is bad and addictive”. Usually I enjoy character driven books, but Jenny isn’t one that I want to be reading about and I have no interest in how her character develops. I would’ve DNFed this book easily if I hadn’t needed to review it.

Overall, I was disappointed with this book, but it was relatable to a certain degree and did make me take a look at my own relationship with my phone, social media and how I use it while around people.
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'I was looking at my phone while we were having sex. I see now how that might have been interpreted as rude - some might even say offensive.'

'Kelly still has a star tattoo on her wrist from when she used to be an anarchist. (She never turned down a cheeseboard, though. I think you often find that with anarchists - they still like the small comforts.)'

Funny, even hilarious in places, but the humour is spotty and the story doesn't cohere. It's hard to believe Jenny is mid-thirties when she acts more like a petulant and insecure teenager. Gags about who ate the last avocado half from the fridge fall limp. It's hard to see what this is trying to say, other than attempting to be a Bridget Jones for now with social media replacing calorie obsession. This might have worked better as a series of columns or blog posts - as a novel it feels directionless. Which is a shame as Unsworth has the potential to be better that this book shows.
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Emma Jane Unsworth does it again, her quick wit and ability to write female characters who represent women in the real world shines through. 

Both hilarious and heartbreaking in equal measures, Adults is an exploration  surrounding social media obsession, love, loss and belonging. 

Adults is a departure from Animals, there is less drink, drugs and debauchery however it still shines a spotlight on those female relationships, the importance of them and how the early ones shape are adult experiences.

I highly recommend Adults.
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Adults is a bit of a polemic read. You will love it or hate it. 
                                                                                                                                                                                                     
The story opens strong with an incident around the texture of a croissant and how not to get stuck with a stale one, which is hilarious. The strong opening gives way to a bit of a random banter between Jenny and her colleagues. Don't give up here if you feel like it's not going well for you. The story gets better.                                                                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                                                                                       
My favorite part- an episode in the Tube where a professional woman refuses to give her seat to a pregnant woman to advance the cause of feminism. Tongue-in-cheek and blunt, Unsworth powerfully questions the norm of celebrating women who are mothers over those who are not. It is a small incident in the larger story but it leaves a deep impression and brings out Unsworth at her best. I wish more of the book was like this, brutal in its critique of women and society. 

The similarities with Bridget Jones are many. A mother with whom the protagonist has a tenuous relationship, a Casanova lover and a career in media that goes awry before bringing fame. Adults is a decent progeny of the romcom, Bridget Jones genre. It has enough funny moments. The multi-generational, multiple voices of Jenny, her mother and her friends can make this a book worth reading in a book club or when you need a quick and easy read. I won't be surprised if Hollywood makes a movie out of it.

But will this become a classic like Bridget Jones? Probably not. Jenny just fails to convert you to her bumbling ways and steal a piece of your heart. She is temporal. Tragic, comic, dramatic but just not enough to make her a memorable, contemporary protagonist. 

*An e-copy of this book was kindly provided to me by the publisher, The Borough Press, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
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Having read the author’s previous two novels I was looking forward to this one and feel that it stylistically follows on from the other two.

However, I wasn’t entirely convinced by the novel’s tone. The main character (first person narrative) was similar to that of her first novel (also a first-person narrative) and the main character’s relationships with her female friends was similar to that of her second novel. Whilst this isn’t a bad thing, I felt as if the novel wasn’t sure of the argument it was making around social media and its effect on modern life. Is it bad for isolating people, or are people fools for taking something so ephemeral so seriously?

Either is a valid argument to take, but the latter would be better served by something more satirical and Adults just doesn’t have the bite to push it over into that category.

On top of all that there is another narrative about a miscarriage. I not sure how this was serving the main theme of the novel and now seems to be the go-to Serious Thing that happens to young women in novels and in screenplays here there and everywhere.

This is not to say that I didn’t enjoy Adults, I did, and Unsworth’s style is highly readable and has a real character all of its own but in the light of the author’s first two novels I didn’t feel that it was offering me anything really new.
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Adults follows Jenny, a 30-something house-owner and magazine writer as she attempts to make her life look dazzlingly beautiful on Instagram, obsessively stalks other women online and generally swans about being incredibly witty and a terrible friend.

I finished this book with the disquieting notion that I was supposed to like it and find it amusingly relatable. I’m afraid I didn’t. The characters are all awful (which can be brilliant when done well) and the one redeeming character gets very little page time. Poor Kelly.

I just can’t believe that intelligent, 35 year olds are obsessing over three word captions the same way my friends and I  would analyse the quantity of kisses at the end of txts from our crushes. I just can’t. Even then we knew we were being moronic.

Aside from the infuriating depiction of ‘adult’ women, there’s no real story to get stuck into and it tries so hard to be relevant and witty that I found it uncomfortable to read. It does get plus points for dealing clumsily with the idea of Instagram vs Reality and social media related anxieties, I‘ll give it that much.

But its worst crime, you ask?! Putting a DOG on the front cover. The dog gets significantly less page-time than poor Kelly. Less page time than a SODDING CROISSANT. You can’t just entice people with dogs willy-nilly.
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Adults is a witty, honest and relevant novel about Jenny, 35 years old, trying to navigate ‘adult life’ as a definite social media addict. She’s actually a character I didn’t warm to very much at the start, as she’s just so obsessed with Instagram, other platforms, and how she appeared to other people, that it made me sort of switch off a bit. As a result I definitely identified with her less to start with.

However, as the book progressed I found myself beginning to really like Jenny. She comes out with some really dry, humorous lines – both in her head and out loud to those characters around her – and she finds herself in situations which provides a lot of entertainment for the reader, despite her being quite annoying at times. I can relate to some of the situations and there are some serious subjects which are addressed too.

Overall I thought this was an enjoyable, fun and very current read.
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I read this book late last year so I'm trying to remember what I thought about this book at the time. I was excited to read this title because of Animals. Unsworth is very insightful in the way that she captures female friendships, especially when they are going wrong. This book also engages with dynamic really well and also looks at mother/daughter relationships as well. It's a good read, not an amazing one though, and I struggled to recall reading this book some 6 months later. However,  I will say that Unsworth does a better job of creating not-so-likeable female protagonists that a lot of writers out there.
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Thankyou to Harper Collins UK for sending me an ARC copy of this book.  I was excited to read this novel due to its focus on social media and approval in the digital age.  However I didn´t enjoy reading Adults as I found the character Jenny to be unrelatable and I couldn´t empathise with her concerns and very quickly became infuriated by her actions.

I would be interested in reading further books by Emma Jane Unsworth but I found that 'Adults' was just not for me.
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I really enjoyed this book. It’s different than the usual books I read which tend to be dark. What can I say? Every now and again it’s good to step out of darkness into the light and feel the sun on your face. Or something like that. I enjoyed every word of Adults. It’s very funny and very real. Jenny is an amazing character, such a delightful mess. She reminds me of an ex. I loved Jenny a little. I wanted to hang out with her and give her a good shake at times to save her from herself. Jenny’s experiences with social media, panicking about what to say, how to say it and how it will be interpreted were painfully spot on. There are some sad moments as well between Jenny and her boyfriend, Art during and after the end of their relationship. This is feel good book about life and love. I had such fun with it.
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Unfortunately this book could not hold my attention at all. The writing seemed very sporadic with too much punctuation. 

Did not finish
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A snapshot into the life and mind of a 35 year old woman in these modern, social media obsessed times.
On the surface Jenny is selfish, shallow, vacuous. She's so enthralled by creating a hip, cool online persona and keeping up with influencer friends that she actually neglects her real life ones. But as the book progresses you see she is a multi layered character. I loved hearing her inner monologue and reading her drafted emails. I enjoyed the complex relationships with her ex Art and her mum, Carmen. There was a lot of warmth, personality and relatability in this book. Snort out loud funny. Just because we can do it all, doesn't mean we are any happier. Being an adult is hard, don't beat yourself up about it. And take a step back from the screen!
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Just genius! Such a wonderful amazing story, I read it twice and recommended it to so many people! Jenny is likeable and funny and bright but sometimes her own pest enemy! Super contemporary and exploring the pit falls of social media and not having a soho house membership. Woke and brilliant.
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I laughed out loud so many times reading this. I did find it got a little slow in the middle after a killer opening, but it never lost its humour and I will 100% be picking up her other books.
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This book was a whirlwind in the best possible way. Fast paced and very funny. The book follows Jenny and her coping, or not, with all the daily pressures of life - her mum, social media, public opinion, pressure, work, relationships, the list goes on! I’ve read a few books that take place in the present and I find them really enjoyable as they are so relatable. I was drawn to Jenny from the start and loved following her journey through some difficult situations.
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If you’re a fan of Fleabag or Girls (like me) then you’re going to love this book. It has the same fast paced wit and the strong female lead, as well as plenty of other awful characters along the way!
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This is such a refreshing and brilliantly relevant read and one I’ll definitely be recommending to all my friends.
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I really wanted to love this novel, but no matter how hard I tried I couldn't,  I found it altogether odd (sadly not the loveable kind) and very uncomfortable to read in places. I'm sure others will adore it but it certainly didn't hit the spot I'd hoped it would for me.

It isn't all bad it made me giggle a few times (the opening croissant debacle springs to mind here!) and there are some gorgeous literary phrases. But for the most part, I found I couldn't connect with the characters at all. 
 
It is current, it's frank & honest but Jenny is so selfish, self-obsessed and petty it broke my heart too much for me to be able to enjoy reading it. She was lacking any redeeming features for me to able to hold on to in her darkest self-absorbed moments.  

Thank-you The Borough Press & Netgalley for sending me a copy in exchange for an open & honest review.

⭐⭐⭐
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To be fair the MC is unlikeable infantile and far from anything you would call adult. This is a niche book I think appealing to those immersed in social media, unable to make unilateral decisions or to run their own lives. For me it has no real draw
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