In an age where social media rules, where life is monopolized by screens and the identities we create behind those screens, Grown Ups by Emma Jane Unsworth addresses the effects of media on our lives with gusto.
Written in the style of Candice Carty-William’s Queenie, Grown Ups has all the elements of a millennial melodrama. Jenny, our main character and our narrator, is a columnist for a local paper and a social media addict. We meet Jenny in the throes of a break-up, a reunion, and a falling apart. Jenny felt like she had it all until she split up with her boyfriend Art. From there, her whole life seems to unravel in her hands. People stop following her on social media, she has so much anxiety about her posts that she can’t put them up without sending them to friends to double and triple check, not to mention that her friendships are falling apart. On top of all that, she has her mother and her job to deal with.
Jenny’s problems are all too familiar in our technology-driven, screen-burdened age. The relationship and familial issues, the technological obsession, and the perseverance on social media are only a few of the things Jenny deals with in Grown Ups. When it comes to her social media accounts, Jenny is constantly questioning herself, reading into the imagined (or not imagined) subtext of every like and comment, feeling unending anxiety as she watches her number of likes grow. While Jenny’s feelings towards social media border on the obsessive, her anxieties won’t be unfamiliar to many users. Jenny, like innumerable others in our society, is being swallowed by the immediacy and inescapability of the internet and communication.
Readers sit back helplessly as Jenny tears her own life apart with her fixation. In the process though, she comes to be closer with herself and farther from those who have never served her as friends or loved ones.
A journey of self-discovery and meaning making, Grown Ups by Emma Jane Unsworth is a quick, fun, and often hilarious read that dips into the edges of the grave and urgent while remaining light and engaging.
Slated for release from Scout Press in May of 2020, you can preorder a copy of Grown Ups by Emma Jane Unsworth from your local independent bookstore.
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FTC Disclaimer: This book was given to me in return for a fair and honest review of the text.