Monday 10 April 2017

Blog Tour: All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg

I am very excited to be part of another blog tour today. This time it is for All Grown up by Jami Attenberg. You'll have heard me talking about this one in my March Wrap Up, my recent unboxing videos and of course of social media, but I have a very special extract for you today, as well as my review of the book!. Here's what it's all about:

Andrea is a single, childless 39-year-old woman who tries to navigate family, sexuality, friendships and a career she never wanted, but battles with thoughts and desires that few people would want to face up to.

Told in gut-wrenchingly honest language that shimmers with rage and intimacy, All Grown Upposes such questions as:
- What if I don't want to hold your baby?
- Can I date you without ever hearing about your divorce?
- What can I demand of my mother now that I am an adult?
- Is therapy pointless?
- At what point does drinking a lot become a drinking problem?
- Why does everyone keep asking me why I am not married?

Powerfully intelligent and wickedly funny, All Grown Up delves into the psyche of a flawed but mesmerising character. Readers will recognise themselves in Jami Attenberg's truthful account of what it means to be a 21st century woman, though they might not always want to admit it.

And here's an exclusive extract so you can have even more of a taster for this book that everyone is talking about!

We meet at a mutual friend’s barbecue, Baron and I. Our mutual friend’s name is Deb, and she had told me in advance to look out for him. “Newly single,” she had texted. “Like newly newly.” “Fresh out of the womb,” I texted back. “Successful, creative, smart,” she texted. “A catch,” I texted. “In a year he’ll be a catch,” she texted. “Right now he’s a good time.” “Am I not good enough for a catch?” I texted. She didn’t text back for six hours. “Sorry,” she texted. “Work.” There was another pause. “Am I mistaken that you want to have a good time?” she texted. I had wanted to argue so badly but I couldn’t.
    Baron and I have an extremely long conversation about potato salad because Deb has made two kinds of potato salad, the creamy kind and the vinegary kind. It’s a dumb, jokey conversation, kind of worthless actually, but he looks at me with obvious interest and desire. I get a little hot in my pants. He has a shaved head, the early male-pattern-baldness shave. He cleans his glasses a lot, and I point this out and he shrugs and says, “I can’t stand fingerprints.” I take his glasses from him, breathe on them, and wipe them on the end of my silky shirt. “Like new,” I say, and hand them back. “You’re helpful,” he says. At some point in the conversation we realize we live ten blocks from each other. “Convenient,” I say and grin.
    Deb lives in a garden apartment, and there are children running in and out of the garden and the apartment, and one of them screeches and I shudder. “Children, ugh,” I say. “I have a child,” Baron says. “Just because I don’t like children doesn’t mean I can’t like you,” I say, and I touch his arm, and feel like both a failure and a success at the same time because even though I have already fucked this up, I was probably supposed to anyway.
    Two normal people walk away from each other right then and there, but instead he gives me a ride home and parks in front of a fire hydrant on my street and then we make out in the front seat of his car, while I ignore the presence of the child seat in the back. He’s really aggressive, tongue in the mouth, ear, throat, squeezing my breasts hard through my blouse. I’m both mortified and aroused. I put my hand on his dick through his pants and he stops and says, “You’re the first person I’ve been with besides my ex- wife in twelve years.” I say, “Whoa, that’s a lot for a first date,” and he says, “This wasn’t a date,” and I feel suddenly hoarse and damaged. “OK,” I say. “I’m done.” I put my hand on the door, but I give him a few seconds to apologize, which he does. He says, “I’m sorry, I don’t know what I’m doing, I don’t know if I’m coming or going. I’m having every emotion at once.” He takes my hand and kisses it. “You’re beautiful,” he says. “You’re beautiful and sexy and you should let me take you out and we’ll do this right.”
    “Toxic,” says my coworker Nina on Monday morning. “Drop him immediately.”
    He texts me on Wednesday and asks if I want to have dinner with him on Friday night. I say I have plans because I’m trying to play hard to get, which has absolutely never worked for me in my entire life. He says he can’t see me on Saturday because he has his daughter that night. I fold instantly. “I’ll move something around,” I say. We pick a restaurant in the neighborhood, but it is a pretense because we both know what is going to happen. We’ve been texting about the things we’re going to do to each other for days. It’s terrible, and it’s all I want.

Thanks so much to Jami for stopping by and don't forget to check out the other stops on the tour!

Review: This book talks about giving an accurate portrayal of what it is like to be a single, childless woman nearing 40 in the 21st century and I would say that this is an honest summary of this novel. I liked the fact that Andrea was such an open and honest character and so we get a no holds barred account of her activities and feelings as she battles against the pressures to have a baby and settle down. She also has an interesting relationship with her parents and her friends and so we get a little bit of an insight into the pressures that both these groups of people bring.

This book is set in New York predominantly but we also have moments where Andrea is visiting her family elsewhere in that little corner of the world and the brings with it its own pressures and situations which are potentially troubling to Andrea. I really liked the descriptions of New York city and what it meant to Andrea. It also describes her social life, including potential dates and sexual encounters very well and I could identify with the struggle to find a partner with the other distractions of technology and the modern age in general.

This book isn't written in chronological order, or it didn't seem that way, It as a series of stories. This made the tone of the book feel a little more chatty, like one friend chatting to another, but I also felt a little lost sometimes as to who the people were that were in a particular scene or story. I don't think Andrea would have tolerated me as a friend and so a felt a little alienated as a reader but the character development is good if I could identify that as the case.

This is definitely a book which has been talked about a lot and if you're looking for something that tells the very real tale of single life in this day and age then I would recommend this book for you, but if you are looking for something with optimism or a happy ending then I don't think this would be what you should pick up.

To see for yourself, click here to order now.

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