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Check It Out: All Adults Here by Emma Straub

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This is Kelsey Patterson with the Sioux City Public Library and you’re listening to Check It Out. It’s been four long years since Emma Straub published the wildly successful Modern Lovers and I was so ready for her to write another book. Enter All Adults Here. Already a Today Show #ReadWithJenna Book Club Pick, I couldn't wait to get my hands on this book.

It might seem odd, but when I pick up a book by Emma Straub, I know I’ll find well-developed characters who carry the story, all while they experience a myriad of life’s challenges in a very real way. These characters aren’t perfect by any means, but they are strong, conflicted, emotional, reflective...in other words, human. For me, there’s something truly comforting in that. All Adults Here was no exception. 

When widowed family matriarch Astrid Strick witnesses an acquaintance get struck and killed by a school bus 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.

Straub’s writing is heartfelt and earnest, without going over the edge. There are a lot of tough issues at play in this book, in addition to the various relationship dynamics, that she deals with in a skillful, genuine way.   

Check out All Adults Here and other witty works of domestic fiction like it at the Sioux City Public Library.

Support for Check It Out on Siouxland Public Media comes from Avery Brothers.