Y’all. I love Emma Straub as a person and author. She is adorable in her online presence, and visiting her bookstore is on my bucket list. Plus, her writing style is perfection. She truly gets people and captures the most intricate nuances in her characters and settings. All Adults Here is another great example of her ability to create stories that are as real as anything you will come across in your everyday life.
The thing is, while I can appreciate just how well Ms. Straub writes and how amazing her stories are, including her newest book, I realized once and for all that I don’t like to read family dramas. They do nothing for me. In fact, they make me feel uncomfortable as if I am a total creeper voyeur spying on someone else’s life. Plus, they don’t help me escape my own life when I read. Parental drama makes me think about my own parents. Sibling drama makes me think about my brother. It is the exact opposite of why I read.
I am someone who reads to escape, so I want worlds that are unfamiliar, lives so not like mine as to be foreign. Ms. Straub in All Adults Here does not provide me with that. Her setting of a fictional town in New York feels universal and could be any small town in America. Similarly, the Strick family is normal, filled with the same doubts, bad choices, trauma, secrets, and flaws that make up any family. It isn’t escapism so much as it is a confirmation and potential comfort that you are not alone in your family’s weirdness or issues.
I get why such novels are popular, and I truly believe that All Adults Here is a gorgeous story. Unfortunately, it did nothing for me, and I was really happy when I finished it so that I could move onto something weird and fantastical. But this is me. Fans of such dramas are going to go ga-ga over this novel, and rightly so.