Adults by Emma Jane Unsworth

I sit and wait for her, my feet swinging under the bench.

– Opening sentence

I won this advance copy of Adults from Borough Press on Twitter (it came with a super-cute enamel badge <3).

It’s described by many as “hilarious”, but for me it struck a little too close to home for me to find it funny; I found it to be incredibly sad.

Jenny is 35 and going through some things – an emotional breakup with a long-term boyfriend, a friendship on the rocks, and a job hanging by a thread. Due to the breakup, she’s sharing her London home with three (younger) tenants, and she’s suffering from a serious case of anxiety-driven social media addition.

You could say she’s the millennial Bridget Jones. And while I think many readers would find it “hilarious”, I couldn’t help but see elements of Jenny in myself, and in my friends. Who hasn’t spent hours stalking someone on Instagram that we haven’t met in real life, comparing every square image of their seemingly-wonderful life with our own? Sure, Unsworth dials this up to another level making Jenny a caricature of our entire generation, but it’s definitely hard hitting in parts.

I just wanted Jenny to get the help she so clearly needs. Instead, she gets her Mum, who she has some unresolved childhood issues with, and even she makes some not-so-motherly choices which doesn’t really comfort Jenny in her time of need.

In the end, it’s Jenny herself who realises she is close to breaking point and must do something about it. However, the ending does not tie everything up in a nice bow (which, I suppose, is more realistic) and it left me feeling unsatisfied and uncertain about her future. Will she get the long-term support she needs? Will she really be alright, in the end?

That being said, this book is super relevant and will be one that readers of all ages will be able to identify with in some way. I think it would be really interesting for me to read this again in a couple of years and see if I have the same reaction.

I would definitely recommend picking up a copy of Adults, and I’d love to hear about what you think about it – am I taking it too seriously? Let me know in the comments!

Suzy Brambles started following you on Instagram.

– Final sentence

3 Stars (3 / 5)

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