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Adult Onset

3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  302 ratings  ·  70 reviews
From the acclaimed, bestselling author of 2 beloved classics (Fall On Your Knees and The Way the Crow Flies), Adult Onset is a powerful drama about motherhood, the dark undercurrents that break and hold families together, and the power and pressures of love.

Mary-Rose MacKinnon--nicknamed MR or "Mister"--is a successful YA author who has made enough from her writing to sem
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Hardcover, 352 pages
Published September 30th 2014
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Gabriella Goodnight Desdemona, Good Morning Juliet: a fantastic play that subverts two of Shakespeare's best known works. It's playful, smart and a lot of fun.…moreGoodnight Desdemona, Good Morning Juliet: a fantastic play that subverts two of Shakespeare's best known works. It's playful, smart and a lot of fun. See it staged if you can.(less)
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karen
this is the lesbian version of The Yellow Wallpaper, proving that the stress of motherhood can be debilitating enough even without the added biological weight of postpartum depression. this book is a detailed character study of mary rose, more commonly known as "mister," who is in the role of stay-at-home mom in toronto while her wife hilary has gone to calgary to direct a play, leaving mister in charge of five-year-old matthew and two-year-old maggie. over the course of the week, mister struggl ...more
Christy
This is simply one of the best books I've read this year. Thanks to Good Reads and Random House Canada for giving me an ARC and especially thanks to Anne-Marie MacDonald for writing such a great novel. Mary Rose, MR or Mister as she's called, is a complicated character, a recognizable person who is busy caring for her two children and worrying about her aging parents and dealing with the daily joys and challenges of life, fending off questions about when her next YA book is due. She might be you ...more
Mary Curran
Well -written and sometimes humorous, Adult Onset is not nearly as engaging as Ann Marie MacDonald's other two novels. The subject matter, although poignant, lends itself to MacDonald's signature humour, but does not deliver. One feels that the book was written as therapy which puts the reader in a difficult position. Nevertheless an entertaining book
gourmetkat
Loved her 1st two novels, waited so long, and then.... this one was so slow-moving. Too much info about things like trying to get the rubber boots on the kid and cooking tofu. I think it deserves 3.5, but that's not an option. I'm not ready to give it 4 points. Feel bad about 3, but when I compare this to so many other books I gave a 4 to...

I actually had a hard time finishing it, whereas the first two novels I sped through and totally loved. She's still a great writer, but I felt like I was rea
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Paula
I was somewhat disappointed with MacDonald's latest novel. Having waited over ten years for a new novel from one of my favourite writers I was hoping the author had moved on from her past themes of childhood trauma and religious (catholic) upbringing. She has not. I guess the adage, you write what you know, holds true once again. MacDonald does introduce a new theme - that of postpartum depression - but does not deal with it in a way I found satisfying. It is perhaps, however, realistic given th ...more
Natashya KitchenPuppies
I have been waiting so very long (it seems) for this multi-talented lady to come out with a new book. As the Crow Flies and Fall on Your Knees are on my list of favourite books ever. Okay, it may be a bit of a long list. But hey, all I do is read.

Adult Onset is distinctly personal and at times comes across as self-indulgent until it hits you - that's how it's supposed to me. The inner machinations of the human mind - bored, distressed, anxious, overwhelmed... everything we try to hide from other
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Karen McCluskey
I was thrilled to win an ARC of Adult Onset from Goodreads Giveaways. Ann-Marie MacDonald's other works are among my favourite books, especially the five-star Fall on Your Knees, which stayed with me for weeks afterward, enveloping me in the most powerful book hangover I've ever experienced. I have been hesitant to write this review, in no small part because of the wonderful reading experiences Ms. MacDonald has given me in the past. However, as part of the intention of the giveaway program is t ...more
Susan
Reading this book was like looking directly into someone's mind and it wasn't very pretty. I don't imagine that anyone's brain would be but Mister's is especially messy due to several childhood traumas. It was often hard to read and most definitely disturbing. There was a constant feeling that something ominous had happened or was about to happen. It really drove home the cycle of abuse and how difficult it is to break free from that "family tradition." It also was a great illustration of how ch ...more
Stephanie
I was lucky enough to have received an advance reader copy of this book via a Goodreads giveaway, and as a huge fan of Ann-Marie MacDonald’s previous books I have been anticipating something new from her for some time. Perhaps my strong desire for something new from MacDonald combined with the thrill of hearing about this book and furthermore actually winning a copy set my expectations too high, or maybe I really just didn’t love this as much as I hoped to – either way, it sadly did fall short o ...more
Andrea MacPherson
I really, really wanted to love this book. Fall on Your Knees is one of my all-time favourites (and I really liked The Way the Crow Flies), and maybe that's one of the reasons this fell short for me.

Adult Onset takes a decidedly modern turn, instead of utilizing the past as her previous two novels did. It's also markedly different in terms of style and tone. It follows a week in the life of Mary Rose, a successful YA writer who has put her career on hold to care for her two small children.

Much
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Krista
I really enjoyed this. Which was odd because this type of novel isn't usually my favourite.

"He bonked her on the head with the flat of his hand like a shingle--the Scottish equivalent of a hug" page 238.

"The discomfort in her chest abates just as Mary Rose identifies it as love" page 292
GinaRose Cristello
This story is so full, has so many characters that are so deeply drawn, that it is almost unbelievable that we are looking at only a week in the life of the main character. Ultimately though this is how we all live. Juggling commitments, our own emotions and the needs of those who are depending on us. This was fantastic. I loved the clearly drawn incidents with the children especially, you can really feel the stress/ anger/ angst that all of us have felt when negotiating with a child.

Ann-Marie
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Wendy Tomlinson
I am such a fan of MacDonald's previous novels that I was almost afraid to read this one- I was certain it would be a disappointment, but thankfully she came through and Adult Onset was well worth the 13 year wait. The main character is so relatable, I know she will stay with me for a long time. As a wordsmith MacDonald delivers some stunningly clever passages, that I reread and savored like really good chocolate.
Dana
I really enjoyed this book. I finished it and feel it has still been sitting in my chest all afternoon. I think MacDonald's character development is almost flawless; Marie-Rose was so fully and painfully alive throughout. I wanted to keep reading but, at times, had to put it down and step back from the story. It is intense - I think many readers will see glimpses of themselves or their parents in here. I feel sad I have finished it. I have wanted a new MacDonald book for so long - I'm envious of ...more
Mike Smith
Mary Rose Mackinnon is a 48-year-old married lesbian living in Toronto with two young children. She is a successful author of Young Adult novels and is currently in semi-retirement, staying home to look after her children while her wife is away on business. Mary Rose is also prone to panic attacks and fits of rage. During the course of a stressful week home alone with the kids, she strives mightily not to succumb to her fits and hurt her children.

This is not a happy book, although it is sometime
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Special K
This is one of those novels that succeeds in being captivating even while nothing is happening a lot of the time. For one week we peer into the life of Mary Rose and witness the banal goings-on of a stay-at-home mother: cooking dinner, putting children to bed, cleaning up spills... Interspersed with this timeline are choppy bits of the past affording glimpses of everything from Mary Rose's childhood memories to conversations and events from past weeks and months. Through this non-linear storytel ...more
Heather
I was thrilled when I received an advance reading copy of this book via a Goodreads giveaway as I loved Ann-Marie MacDonald's previous books. Adult Onset did not disappoint.

The book focuses on a week in the life of the central character, Mary Rose, an author who has hit a rough patch and is dealing with a complicated past. As her week unravels, we learn more about MR through a series of flashbacks. She is struggling with writing her third novel, with motherhood, with her marriage and with her co
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Amanda Bolderston
I've been waiting for a new AMM! Loved her previous 2 dark and broody books, and had the pleasure of seeing her act a few times in Toronto. This book was a bit different - at first it seemed very "lesbian mommy-lit" (a new category!!) - middle aged woman struggling with two young kids while alpha partner is away in Winnipeg (or possibly Calgary) directing a play. Then some of the familiar AMM themes start to swim to the surface. The lingering effects of child abuse, depression, immigration....an ...more
Martha
Somewhere ranging from 3.5 stars to 4.5 stars. Some elements I loved, some got a bit tedious. I understand Macdonald's stylistic choices -- they accurately mimic Mary Rose's inner tumult -- but it made reading slow going at times. Not a favourite, but worth a close read. Emotionally honest.
Adrienne
Ann-Marie MacDonald's first two books - Fall on Your Knees and The Way the Crow Flies - are my two favourite books of all time, so her third had some pretty high expectations to fulfill. Adult Onset is completely different from the first two works - in content, structure, and size - and I had a really hard time getting past that. It's good, but in my opinion not quite on par with her other works.

Adult Onset is essentially a week in the life of Mary Rose McKinnon, a successful author of two young
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Sherry Monger

I love Ann-Marie MacDonald's books - each one traces the roots of family and the inadvertent damage by these primal relationships. In this one, Mary Rose MacKinnon is the rejected lesbian child in the family. She is actually named after an older sister who died at birth and is haunted by that fact. Her Mother, in the depths of postpartum depression after losing another baby after Mary Rose, is unable to adequately care for the physical and emotional needs of her two year old daughter and now MR,
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Alia
Ann-Marie MacDonald's writing always blows me away, and this novel was no different. I loved the way the pace of her writing completely mirrored both the hectic thoughts of the main character and the unraveling of her inner workings. Very well done.
Mary-lou
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Norm
This is not a novel I would have purchased, other than the fact it was written by one of my favourite authors, Anne-Marie MacDonald. A largely domestic drama involving a lesbian couple, their young children, friends, and in-laws, is not something I am typically drawn to. But I have been such a big fan of hers since reading Fall on Your Knees, and then The Way the Crow Flies, that I was predisposed to buy her latest novel on the day it was issued, without knowing or wanting to know what it was ab ...more
Melissa
3.5 actual rating... Kept waiting for the penny to drop.... Still waiting
Gail
Mary Rose MacKinnon is a stay-at-home mother in early middle age, who is troubled by memories of her childhood and the illness she suffered at that time. As her domestic life becomes more stressful, she experiences a flare-up of the pain she thought she had escaped. Her mind plays tricks on her as she struggles to make sense of the conflicting memories of events long past, when her mother was going through post-partum depression and Mary Rose was a very young child. I liked the humour in this bo ...more
Diane
Mary Rose and Hilary are married and raising two small children in Toronto. The story takes place over a week while Hilary is working on a theatre production in Calgary, leaving Mary Rose to shoulder all the responsibilities of child care and she's struggling with it a bit. She has a temper, she has little patience sometimes, and she's dealing with a mother who seems to have a form of dementia. Over the course of the story, we have memories from Mary Rose's childhood and early womanhood when she ...more
Karen
Mary Rose is on her own for a week with her 2 & 5 year old children while her wife is directing a play out of town. During this long week she begins to remember incidents from her childhood for which she has no explanation. Her mother suffered from postpartum depression and lost several babies due to,RH factor issues. Her parents had a lot of trouble accepting her lesbian relationships. Both an external view of life as well as digging deep into her past, this is another brilliant novel from ...more
Suzanne
This is a fairly dark story made readable by the beautiful prose. "All she can do is try to bear witness"....this is what I think AMM is asking us to do as readers. As such there is no real resolution at the end, no big event from the past fully revealed (ie what actually happened on the balcony) so I'm left with a sense of dissatisfaction and it feels somewhat like the story suddenly wrapped up yet life is rarely tidily wrapped up so in that sense, the ending pages make sense.
Lindasp
Very well-written but wow, what a depressing story which hit home in some parts! It takes place over a week in which Mary Rose has fears of being a bad parent to her rambunctious 2 year old while her partner/wife is away. As well, she deals with health issues, untrustworthy memories of growing up in a rather abusive home, and finally with fears of increasing dementia developing in her mother. Lots of worries and fears to deal with in a week's time period!
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CBC Books: December '14 - Adult Onset by Ann-Marie MacDonald 20 37 Nov 23, 2014 05:25AM  
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Ann-Marie MacDonald is a Canadian playwright, novelist, actor and broadcast journalist who lives in Toronto, Ontario. The daughter of a member of Canada's military, she was born at an air force base near Baden-Baden, West Germany.

MacDonald won the Commonwealth Writers Prize for her first novel, Fall on Your Knees, which was also named to Oprah Winfrey's Book Club.

She received the Governor General'
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More about Ann-Marie MacDonald...
Fall on Your Knees The Way the Crow Flies Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) Belle Moral: A Natural History The Arab's Mouth

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