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Adult Onset

3.27  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,325 Ratings  ·  397 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
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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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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
Tough review for me. Like so many others I love, love A.M MacDonald. Loved both of her previous novels and think everyone should read them. I was so anxious and excited to read this book that I ordered it from Canada as it is not yet available in the USA.

I will not summarize the plot, many others have done so, but I have to say that I had many issues with much of this novel. For me much of it felt like a Yuppy tour of Toronto, as the protagonist goes about her day she lists the shops and landma
Penny (Literary Hoarders)
It pains me to say this, it pains me so very much, how could this have happened to such a beloved author? What could have / should have been wonderful flat out was not. It was as though a conversation was transcribed with painful and liberal doses of Toronto product placement thrown in. A women trying to come to terms with the anger she begins to feel towards her kids sparks deeper thinking to childhood trauma she experienced at the hands of her own mother. Interesting stuff right? Not here. I w ...more
Jan 18, 2015 Vitrine rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Very disappointed with this book. Having enjoyed her first 2 books, this one reads as semi-autobiographical and has no meat on it- unless you enjoy reading the day-to-day life of a stay-at-home mom who has put her career on hold. It was a tortuous read and I only managed to get half-way and saw no point in completing it at all.
Aug 19, 2016 BrokenTune rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Review to follow.
Jennifer D
i am still processing this read, not totally sure how i feel about it, and wavering on my rating (between 2- & 3-stars). so this may change. the book is a monthly group read in one of my groups, so i am curious whether the discussion over the course of december will clarify or improve my feelings.

my expectations going into this novel were not a factor. while i had loved Fall on Your Knees, i was only so-so about The Way the Crow Flies. i really admire ann-marie macdonald for her work as a wr
I loved MacDonald's previous books, but frankly this one did not measure up. It was so slow moving, I kept waiting for something to happen. I almost abandoned it several times. I found the main character to be self-involved, and not in an interesting way. I think the themes in the book are interesting but they were not written in an interesting way for me, and the story just didn't draw me in at all. A disappointment for sure.
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
Andrea MacPherson
Nov 06, 2014 Andrea MacPherson rated it liked it
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.

Sarahc Caflisch
Ugh, what? This book is like someone you suddenly meet who seems like a great new smart friend who is well spoken, and who will really "get you" over long, late-night talks fueled by wine, but who ends up being super crazy-pants and obsessed with bulls*t.

-Title is clever!
-Word choice and whatevves is good.


-Almost fetishizing domestic violence and child abuse
-Ends up being boring
Jan 12, 2015 Jules rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was disappointed with this book. It was well written, but it lacked the pull that MacDonald's other novels have. It was easy to put down. The story didn't move along. She kept returning to the same issues. I felt that she was working through a lot of her personal angst rather than telling a story.
Nov 20, 2014 Karen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I felt it was a disjointed, self-indulgent form of therapy for the author. Strange evolution from the great Fall on Your Knees.
Friederike Knabe
"whenever the past starting piling up behind Mary Rose, threatening to collapse, the family would move and presto, she would get another chance. She got good at being new." Now Mary Rose McKinnon, Mister as she has been called since her childhood, appears to be stuck. Taking a break from her successful writing career to look after household and her and her wife's small children, she cannot "just move" and start again when the many demands on her seem to overwhelm her. Running the household while ...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
Sep 04, 2014 Christy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Wendy Tomlinson
Nov 18, 2014 Wendy Tomlinson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 16, 2015 Krista rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: can-con, 2015
Mary Rose MacKinnon (AKA "MR", AKA "Mister"), is a semi-retired YA author of two successful novels (which everyone -- her fawning fanbase, her wife, and her parents -- assume will eventually become a trilogy), who is raising two small children in a shabby-but-gentrifying, downtown Toronto neighbourhood. Having put her writing on hold in order to assume the role of stay-at-home-Mumma, Adult Onset chronicles one week in Mary Rose's life; a week in which her wife, Hilary, is away directing a play i ...more
Feb 17, 2015 Kyle rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
While I did not really love this book, couldn't "find myself" in it the way I found myself absorbed in her previous novels, I still feel that this was an undeniably well-written book.

It is certainly a personal novel. Moving from page to page, I really had a sense that this book was almost a record of events that had happened to the author at different points in her life, which added to the authenticity and, dare I say, Naturalism of the story. I don't know too many details of the author's upbrin
Dorianne Emmerton
I don't think this will be as big a hit as her first two, as it doesn't have the epic scope and big traumas that they did, but Adult Onset had all these "oooof" moments for me. It's about a woman who's a writer and is not currently writing, instead spending her days with her willful toddler. She's got some hangups and some issues with her temper and all of that was very identifiable for me. So was the loving, familiar descriptions of the places in Toronto where she lived and shopped and otherwis ...more
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
Mary Armstrong
Dec 26, 2014 Mary Armstrong rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The novel all of us Ann-Marie MacDonald fans have been waiting for is here.Not surprisingly,it's about what she's doing these days. It's largely autobiographical. Authors write about what they know, right?

Mary Rose, the protagonist, and her lesbian partner Hil, a film producer, have two children, birthed by the younger Hil.Mary Rose stays home with them.

Anyone with small children will appreciate the scenes with the 2 1/2-year-old Maggie when Mary Rose struggles to be the perfect, patient mothe
Ben Babcock
Reading Adult Onset feels like watching someone else watch a movie inside a glass box: I can see them enjoying the movie but can’t quite join in. I think I’ve come to terms with the fact I didn’t like this book, but I’m still trying to figure out if it’s well written or not. That is, I’m pretty certain most of what I didn’t like is on me, not on the book—but maybe a little of it is the book’s doing. Ann-Marie MacDonald is a versatile, clever author, and I admire what she attempts with this book. ...more
Jun 08, 2015 Roberta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canada, 2015
Ho amato moltissimo i due romanzi precedenti della MacDonald (specialmente Come vola il corvo) e sono veramente felice di questa nuova pubblicazione, anche se ammetto che probabilmente non avrei mai letto questo libro se fosse stato solo per la trama. Ma ne è valsa la pena. Come al solito i libri della MacDonald sono angoscianti, e ho trovato questo particolarmente denso:
riflessioni sulla maternità
il delirio di rimanere a casa con due bambini piccoli e voler essere autonomi al punto di negare og
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
Jun 01, 2016 Janet rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Although this book provides a good medium for book clubs to discuss many themes such as lesbianism, difficulties of motherhood, postpartum depression, uncontrolled rage/anger and aging parents, I found it to be a tedious read even though Ann Marie McDonald is a gifted writer. It jumps around too much where she lives in parallel worlds. A disappointment and one of the few books I have had to force myself to finish.
Intergenerational trauma + lesbian parenting...why do I do this to myself? Disturbing and complex in a slightly less graphic and gory and stomach-turning way than her other two novels. Definitely amazing.
May 09, 2015 Amy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Considering that this is touted as the lesbian version of The Yellow Wallpaper, and it's the author of The Way the Crow Flies, I had pretty high hopes here. Unfortunately, overall it's disappointing. The biggest problem for me is how accurately she captures the tediousness of life as a SAHM to a toddler. It can be very very tedious and repetitive to spend your days with a toddler. Very tedious. Spoiler: it's also tedious to read. It's hard because there is a lot of good writing and insight here, ...more
Rebecca McNutt
Feb 25, 2016 Rebecca McNutt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canadian, fiction, family
This book was really great. The story proves that families come in many forms and the author has a very distinctive and interesting writing style.
Jan 05, 2016 Ubiqua rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Romanzo di finzione ma basato su fatti autobiografici, è un’indagine – a tratti inconsapevole – della protagonista Mary Rose sulla propria infanzia. Quando la storia inizia, lei non sa ancora di stare cercando qualcosa; ma è perseguitata dal fantasma del dolore osseo che l’ha tormentata fino ai 14 anni. Il dolore, forse ora di origine psicologica, la pungola; lei inizia a interrogare il passato.

La storia è narrata dal punto di vista del presente, focalizzato sull’estenuante routine della madre c
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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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“Non sa bene quanti “altri” ci siano stati, però sa, grazie a Maureen, che uno è finito nel water di Kingston. Casa loro era nuova e perciò, le ha raccontato, non infestata dai fantasmi. Anche se chi può dire che un embrione non sia abbastanza robusto da infestare una casa, sia pure a due piani e nei quartieri residenziali. Un’anima ce l’ha, a sentire la Chiesa. Anima che però, come quella dell’altra Mary Rose, non era benaccetta in paradiso. Che se ne faceva Dio di tutte quelle anime nel Limbo? Le riciclava? Le mieteva come anime peduncolo, capaci di conferire l’immortalità? Gli eroi spesso penetrano nell’Oltretomba alla ricerca di un’anima perduta, ma a Mary Rose non viene in mente nessuno che sia mai penetrato nel Limbo – “l’altro posto” – con lo stesso intento.” 0 likes
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