Adults by Emma Jane Unsworth @emjaneunsworth #Adults @BoroughPress @bisscakes @fictionpubteam #Bookreview

Adults by Emma Jane Unsworth

Originally published: 30 January 2020

Author: Emma Jane Unsworth

Published by: Borough Press

Genre: Fiction

Length: 400 pages

Reading dates:  2-5 January 2020

At 35, Jenny McLaine is supposedly an adult.  She works for as a columnist for a cool feminist magazine, she owns her own house and has a funny and supportive best friend. But…

  • She can’t actually afford the payments on her house since her ex-boyfriend Art left her
  • Her best friend Kelly isn’t as being as funny and supportive as she once was
  • She spends all day on Instagram, stalking other women with beautiful lives, while her career and her social life go down the drain
  • Her eccentric and flamboyant mum, a spiritual healer and psychic medium has turned up on her doorstep to save the day.

I was totally drawn to the cover of this book and it didn’t disappoint.  The chapters are short and snappy and it really held my attention. Jenny is self obsessed, fragile and needs constant validation, but as the book progressed, I actually quite came to like her.

Completely obsessed with Instagram, she spends a very funny opening chapter obsessing for ages about the wording, hashtags and filtering she should use on a picture of a croissant.  I’m pretty sure any of us who use social media have done something similar at some point or other! She will often send her posts to be checked by her best friend Kelly, but she is also finding Jenny’s obsession with social media difficult to deal with. Her relationship with social media presents itself in a toxic way and she displays signs of digital anxiety throughout the book which I’m sure is true of many people nowadays. 

As the book starts, Jenny is coming to terms with the breakdown of her relationship with Art and the story looks back to when times we happier.  Her mum, with whom she has a love/hate relationship also arrives on the scene and moves in with her.

A relevant and contemporary novel, it was very funny and a little cringey in places and despite Jenny being an unsympathetic character at times, I still enjoyed reading about her and think her obsession with social media isn’t that far fetched!  Not heavily plot driven, the story focuses on the characters and is told using different formats which I really enjoyed. Some chapters were like diary entries, some were text messages and some were some very funny email drafts she writes to let off steam. Adults is clever, relevant and witty, a book about motherhood and friendships, a must read for our generation.

I went along to the Brighton Waterstone event on 28th January which saw Emma in conversation with Alexandra Heminsley.  A very funny evening, it was interesting to hear about Emma’s writing process, her foray in the writing screenplay for her first novel Animals and the role friendships play in women’s lives!

Thank you so much to Ann Bissell and Borough Press and for sending me an advanced copy of the book.

About the author:

Emma Jane Unsworth (Photo: Darren Hall)

Emma Jane Unsworth has worked as a journalist, a columnist for The Big Issue, and a barmaid. Her novel Animals (Canongate) won a Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize 2015. The film of Animals premiered at Sundance 2019, directed by Sophie Hyde (52 Tuesdays) and starring Holliday Grainger and Alia Shawkat.



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