Believe it or not — and if you know me, this won’t be a stretch for you to believe — I am still working through the requested reviews from my Books I Read in 2020 list! Seriously, thank you to everyone who requested those reviews. I appreciate your engagement so much, and I’ve had fun revisiting so many of the titles I read last year.
At this point, I’ve finished almost all of the requests, either as blog posts or as book chat videos I was doing for a while with my friend Kara. And I now have three books left to tell you about. Allow me to knock one of those off the list today while the next chapter of the new novel I’m writing incubates in my subconscious…
If you type “adulthood is overrated” into a Google search bar, you will get umpteen kajillion sites with articles or products or other content declaiming this travesty against our youthful expectations. Normale.
Adulthood Is A Myth, a compendium of comics by Sarah Anderson about the travails of becoming an adult, takes this pseudo-despair about growing up into “real life” one step sideways. Her comics are amusing and well drawn; they dive deep into the maelstrom of emotions that is the proverbial Human Condition with just the right levels of snark, angst, and immense relatability.
It would be easy to dismiss Anderson’s collection as a lot of comics about millennials not being able to get their shit together, but it would be wrong and ageist to do that. The fact is, adulthood is not a state of being that comes with a manual, despite the proliferation of self-help books related to the subject. Most of the time we observe the world around us and the generations that came before us to find answers, and our life trajectories are shaped by world events. And thanks largely to technology (which has changed not only the metaphorical size of our world but also our ability to view and interact with it), 21st-century young adults have a really different row to hoe from all of us who came before them. Frankly, Gen Z is basically a generation of cyborgs — and as a parent of kids in Gen Z, I mean that in the most loving and practical way.
The comics in Anderson’s collection aren’t really about that, though, which is one reason this book has such wide appeal. It’s about human interaction and daily, practical functioning and the challenging emotions so many of us experience regardless of age or time of life. Moreover, she does it all with a wryness that will make you feel maybe just slightly superior (in a non-snotty way) if you’re generally competent at adulting, and make you feel absolutely seen and heard and understood and even maybe cared for if for you, like for most of us, managing this American life is challenging sometimes.
I really enjoyed this book and will admit I gobbled it up in about an hour, cover to cover.
I’m also not squeamish about telling you that I did it late on a Saturday afternoon, with a basket of laundry next to me, sitting on the floor at the top of the stairs where I had gotten distracted by seeing the book on top of a pile next to Han’s desk and decided it was the right time for me to stop and read a book even though I was literally in the middle of doing a household chore.
(And if that doesn’t give you some context of where my head was or why this book hits all the right notes, I’m not sure anything will.)