Rory McGovern is entering the ostensible prime of her life when her husband, Blake, loses his dream job and announces he feels like taking a break from being a husband and father. Rory was already spread thin and now, without warning, she is single-parenting two kids, juggling their science projects, flu season, and pajama days, while coming to terms with her disintegrating marriage. And without Blake, her only hope is to accept a full-time position working for two full-time twenty-somethings.
A day out of b-school, these girls think they know it all and have been given the millions from venture capitalists to back up their delusion that the future of digital media is a high-end lifestyle site for kids! (Not that anyone who works there has any, or knows the first thing about actual children.) Can Rory learn to decipher her bosses lingo, texts that read like license plates, and arbitrary mandates? And is there any hope of saving her marriage? With her family hanging by a thread, Rory must adapt to this hyper-digitized, over-glamorized, narcissistic world of millennials whatever it takes.
Kathryn - 3.5 Star
There were many parts of How to be a grown up that I was immediately drawn to. The Rory that was the mother was endearing and natural and her alternating between so loving with her kids and wanted to throttle them was an honest portrayal of motherhood (at least from my own perspective!). I also liked that the authors gave a voice to both stay at home parents and working parents, gave us an idea of both their existences and at one point even said the world would not function in today’s society without having both. (We really need to stop beating ourselves up!).
I found the relationship between Rory and her husband really frustrating though. I never really got a good feel for them loving each other in the past and his selfishness was so infuriating I wasn’t sure why she didn’t just lose her mind at every turn. He just removed himself from his marriage and fatherhood with zero explanation and didn’t get any repercussions to speak of- not a single person gave him a hard time or tried to get him to come back to his kids or even call them with a cause. I would have liked his mother to step up and make him be responsible at least.
Rory picks herself up and re-inserts herself back into a career (luckily she’s a very strong creative business person and found a niche to create financial stability). I loved her job and all the descriptions of her work but she seems to go back to the working world without so much as a blink- it’s as if she’s completely unfazed by her husband’s desertion? I found their separation emotionless.
The kids were perfect- I’ve always found Nicola Kraus and Emma McLaughlin can portray children well so I found myself promptly rooting for them to come out of the fray as unscathed as possible.
I always enjoy novels by these authors but there were some questions for me as the emotions seemed to be lacking.
Thank you to Atria Books for our review copy. All opinions are our own.
Connect with Nicola Kraus and Emma McLaughlin: