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There Are No Grown-ups: A Midlife Coming-of-Age Story

Review

There Are No Grown-ups: A Midlife Coming-of-Age Story

THERE ARE NO GROWN-UPS is a collection of essays by a bestselling American author who resides in France with her English husband and three young children. Pamela Druckerman grew up in a home where bad news was pretty much ignored, positivity reigned, and details about anything were rarely given. This may be why, as an adult, she still feels somewhat clueless as she ruminates on how to make and keep friends, how to learn the rules --- especially those important, often unspoken ones --- how to politely say no and mean it, and how to juggle family and career successfully.

Druckerman didn’t feel her age creep up on her, yet the waiters now address her as “madame” instead of “mademoiselle.” At 40 she begins to realize that her wardrobe of sandals and t-shirts with attitudes printed on them is no longer appropriate. But what is? She meets an actual style coach who helps her discover that fitted jeans and a basis blazer create the image she wants to project: that of a grown-up.

"[Druckerman] has penned a book that contains humor, a bit of personal philosophy, and some blunt honesty."

Now Druckerman looks like a grown-up but realizes that she still has a lot of unanswered questions about how to act and feel like a grown-up. And her husband Simon, who is about to turn 40, has a birthday fantasy --- a threesome that includes her. Druckerman decides to honor his request and sets out to find person number three. She is very selective about qualities that the other woman should have, and makes mental notes about the ladies she already knows, eliminating them all. Eventually she finds the right person for the job. Not only does the fantasy play out, but Druckerman actually gets paid to write a 3,000-word article about her experience. And her father, who was shown the article by a friend, compliments his daughter on her writing.

Druckerman’s French-speaking children correct her French grammar and particularly her pronunciation. Of motherhood she admits, “I often feel like the ruler of a tiny country who’s constantly called upon to make laws and adjudicate disputes.”

At 41 Druckerman is diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which is a wake-up call. There’s nothing like a serious disease to make one feel and behave like a grown-up. Startled now and very cognizant of her mortality, she is determined to survive so she can be around to raise her children. The chemotherapy treatment she undergoes is successful.

While there may be nothing particularly unique about Druckerman’s attempt to come to terms with middle age, and her hoping to find the maturity and wisdom she believes should naturally accompany that time of life, she has penned a book that contains humor, a bit of personal philosophy, and some blunt honesty.

Reviewed by Carole Turner on June 1, 2018

There Are No Grown-ups: A Midlife Coming-of-Age Story
by Pamela Druckerman

  • Publication Date: May 29, 2018
  • Genres: Humor, Memoir, Nonfiction
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Press
  • ISBN-10: 1594206376
  • ISBN-13: 9781594206375