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There Are No Grown-ups: A Midlife Coming-of-Age Story

3.29  ·  Rating details ·  2,653 ratings  ·  389 reviews
The best-selling author of Bringing Up Bebe investigates life in her forties, and wonders whether her mind will ever catch up with her face.

When Pamela Druckerman turns 40, waiters start calling her "Madame," and she detects a disturbing new message in mens' gazes: I would sleep with her, but only if doing so required no effort whatsoever.

Yet forty isn't even technically mid
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published May 29th 2018 by Penguin Press
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Average rating 3.29  · 
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 ·  2,653 ratings  ·  389 reviews

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Sonja Arlow
Jun 09, 2018 rated it liked it
As I am 42 I am at the beginning of this decade that the author wanted to make sense of. To be honest I have no idea why I picked this up. I don’t feel as if I am going through a mid-life crisis, I don’t break out in a sweat when someone asks me my age and I don’t have this uncontrollable urge to go bungee jumping or sky diving (I did all that in my 30s)

Each chapter ends with “You know you are in your 40s when….” Followed by little gems in bullet point format. These sections really m
May 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Druckerman’s French Children Don’t Throw Food (U.S. title: Bringing Up Bébé) was a surprise hit with me in 2012, the sort of wide-ranging, witty book anyone can enjoy, parent or no. Earlier this year I read her first book, Lust in Translation, and was disappointed that it lacked a personal component; it read like pure journalistic investigation, and was weaker for that. Here she’s back with what she does best: slightly neurotic reflections on her expatriate life in Paris and the search for the right way to do things ...more
Cristy Jimenez-Shawcroft
Apr 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
I couldn't put this book down. Entertaining, quick read. I like how the author writes; she is completely honest and very reflective, telling about everything from ménage à trois she planned for her husband's 40th birthday to her bout with cancer to how she became a journalist to figure out what is going on (she had felt clueless about aspects of the world around her previously, in part due to her parents sugar-coating everything when she was growing up). It reads like various short stories to cr ...more
Lindsay Nixon
Jun 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
It’s possible that I’m the wrong demographic... I loved her book on French parenting, not only because it was insightful, fascinating, and smart, but because it was funny, and captivating. I loved her personal memoir bits mixed into the info but this book is dreadful and p-a-i-n-f-u-l-l-y boring. I’m not in my 40s, so perhaps that’s the problem, though I’ve read and loved novels and memoirs about / by women in their 40/50/60s and connected to it... I’m seeking a refund, it’s that lousy. The only ...more
Aug 15, 2018 added it
What I was expecting: a fun, campy take on middle age à la This is 40 or Parenthood. What I got: a memoir with banal stories that had nothing to do with age or season of life. I drew the line when she started going into detail about how she found a woman for her husbands threesome birthday present. DNF at 40%.
Jun 19, 2018 rated it it was ok

This book is written by an American expatriate who lives in France. It essentially compares and contrasts how life lessons experienced by adults in their 40s / midlife differs between Americans and the French. Although it is partially a biography, which livens it up a bit, I found it rather dry.
May 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was exactly the book I needed right now. Though I don't share all of Druckerman's concerns about aging, she's very likable and insightful. The book is part memoir, part self-help, and part just chatting with a friend. It's a fun and quick read
May 26, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaways
I tried to slog through this book but I couldn't. I just couldn't. It seemed like a lot of random thoughts that didn't go anywhere, except for the part about the threesome. That was interesting. I hate to give a bad review because I'm sure there's a piece of the author's heart in every book but this book bored me to tears. I'm still trying to figure out the premise exactly. It's not a how to manual for aging women. I just didn't get it. There are plenty of good reviews so it must be gettable. Ma ...more
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
I'm old. I liked this because I could identify with a lot of this. She spoke my language. Even at my age, I often wonder if I'm an adult because I don't always feel like one.

I had no expectations going into this. This felt more like an autobiography than a humorous book. I liked the way she kind of figured things out. I also like her efforts in doing her genealogy. I would have liked this to be more personal. It seemed at times she was catering this to a specific audience....and it was not all
Sep 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
Two and a half stars. I probably should have rated it higher because I couldn’t stop reading it, but there was so much about it that bothered me. Part memoir, part self-help, part essay collection...this book has an identity crisis, much like the author. While I loved Bringing Up Bebe, this time around, Druckerman seems out of her depth. I found my own conclusions about mid life to be vastly different from hers. She often comes across as an insecure twenty something who is shockingly (and admitt ...more
Merry Miller moon
Apr 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to Goodreads for the free ARC of this book. The author is giving advice/life lessons on how to deal with life when you reach your forties, which is so appropriate for me, since I am a forty something. In one chapter, she describes how she made her husband's fantasy come true for this birthday-having a threesome, with another woman. Kudos to you, Pamela Druckerman! for not only doing this, but writing about it so bluntly. Pretty amazing since her previous book was a 'how to parenting' b ...more
Jul 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2018, memoirs
It wasn’t as good or as fun as Bringing Up Bebe (review here: but still interesting and entertaining with some very insightful parts. It felt somewhat uneven to me, though.
Christine (Queen of Books)
Thank you to Penguin for providing an advance reading copy, won via a GoodReads giveaway. (Thanks also to GoodReads!)

Druckerman has a great voice, which makes for an easy read - conversational, though she mixes in facts and quotations. I was predisposed to like this book, as the premise hit a note with me. (I've come to believe no one knows what they're doing.) It was enjoyable, and I particularly liked some parts, but it felt sort of surface-level... I wanted the author to delve a bit deeper t
Aug 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018
Oddly enough, as a 43 year old woman, I didn't feel like I was the target audience for this one. You see, the target audience for this is really specific. 40-something year old women, who have children and who have been married for a long time, who also have lots of "first world problems" like shopping in boutiques and cocktail party anxiety. I have no children and got married last year, so most of this angst was lost on me. Also, Im not angsting over my age. Sure, I don't like getting older, bu ...more
Jun 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
Do you like to read about self involved and self obsessed average looking 40year old women ? This is you book. Ugh -why did I waste precious time of my own 40 year old life to read this drivel? Gah! Go for it if you have a long flight and an empty brain. Self centered author who-oh how awful-lives in Paris, with a seemingly selfish husband. Rants annoyingly about her first world 40 year old probs.
May 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
I came to There Are No Grown-Ups after reading Druckerman's book about adultery, Lust in Translation. Here, she seems to have ditched the more anthropological approach and has doubled down on her humour, which better suits these essays about turning 40. The writing style is lite, breezy, and would work really well for beach reading. There Are No Grown-Ups most strongly recalls, for me at least, Joel Stein's slightly obnoxious Stupid Quest for Masculinity. (I think of Stein as a sort of "bro" writer who might write for Esquire.) Of the two, Druck ...more
Chris devine
May 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: giveaways
So, I'm definitely not the intended audience for this book, but it sounded interesting so I gave it a shot. This book seems to be geared towards rich older women, who have problems with shopping and packed schedules full of lunches with other rich women. I don't know this woman, but I just hate her for some reason. She thinks of herself as an expert in both french and american ways of life, but she doesn't seem to know that the vast majority of people in both those countries live a vastly differ ...more
Jun 16, 2018 rated it did not like it
The book started out okay, though incredibly shallow, that earned it one full star. Then it turned into something that seemed like the author had researched dozens of articles and dumped them all into a book and tried to tie them together by claiming they had something to do with age. There's also way too many grammatical errors to ignore. Oh, and if someone is constantly telling you they are not a narcissist, they're a narcissist.
I just finished this memoir about aging. I liked it a lot. Highly recommend the audio edition as the author has a good voice for it and it’s helpful with the French words sprinkled throughout the book. The only part I could have done without is the end of chapter bits of “you know you’re in your 40s when...”
Jul 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir-bio
The author realizes she's lost her 'young face' when waiters in Paris start calling her madame rather than mademoiselle.

Good thing: I can relate to this book. I'm in my late forties and there were several times while I read this that I thought "Yes, THAT". It was interesting to see this through the lens of how French women differ from the U.S. (the author is living in Paris), ranging from fashion, expectations for aging, and social connections.

Bad thing: The bits including Jung drag
Jun 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book, as I did Bringing up Bebe. Pamela has an excellent sense of humor and it shines through in this book. Although I'm probably 15 years older than she, it was still quite interesting to read her thoughts and research.
Josh Puetz
Meh: exceedingly Ave age. Started out strong with some interesting insights into aging, but quickly became a memoir of the author’s extremely niche experiences. Are you a middle aged white woman expat living in Paris? Then this is book for you! If you liked Bringing up Bebe this is a fun follow up, otherwise skip it.
Alexa Kozlov
Apr 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
I won this book at a Goodreads giveaway. I'm in my 20s but I really enjoyed this book. I loved the writing. The humorous portions actually made me laugh out loud. Other portions were really heartfelt. I recommend it. It is an easy and interesting read. I can already think of a few girlfriends who would love to read this next.
Sukyong Suh
Aug 06, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish
Could not finish. The author says there are no grown ups but actually she means she herself is not a mature person. This is a memoir by a person who really did not come of age until her forties.

A lot of her concerns seemed bizarre to me. For example, why do you need waiters to think you're young? We have words like madame and mademoiselle in Korean - and we have it for BOTH men and women. It's not worth getting worked up over, you know? She also seems very concerned about the sexual invisibilit
Aug 15, 2018 rated it liked it
I liked this book. It doesn't necessarily introduce a lot of new ideas (ex: when you're middle aged, you stop caring what other people think as much and are really busy) but I appreciate its affirmation that we're all winging it--students and grown-ups and 70-year-olds alike.
There are funny points in this book and times I could relate. Interesting book about what it's like when you hit your 40s.
Jill Blevins
Jul 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This isn't the book you think it is, so don't judge by the cover or the American-in-Paris or the midlife crisis subject matter. It is a book about getting older, sure, it is a book about living as a foreigner and raising kids in Paris, of course, but it is also a well-written guidebook to how to live. Like Montaigne only less male and privileged and old. There are hard lessons that you could either learn from this book or learn the hard way, through failure. And that sounds incredible. It is. Sh ...more
Nov 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoirs
I thought at first that this was book of humor, but it wasn't. It was an honest, well-researched, introspective view of an American writer, living in Paris with her husband and two children. I was surprised that there was a bibliography at the end, but the book was written by Pam Druckerman, who researches 25 topics that everyone over the age of 40 faces. How to dress, how to be wise, how to control your family and how to stay married are a few of the topics. The titles are a little deceiving. P ...more
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
I enjoyed Druckerman's reflections on midlife conscientiousness (organization and management skills at a lifetime high!); I certainly have more to-do lists and role fatigue than ever before in my life. Her chapters span the whimsical (the threesome she arranged for her husband's fortieth birthday) and the serious (her non-Hodgkins lymphoma), and she highlights the development of judgment as well as self-trust, the willingness to let friendships grow slowly, to take an intellectual risk when a pr ...more
Jun 06, 2018 rated it liked it
I picked up this book because I read an excerpt published in the New York Times and was totally hooked. I resonate with the idea of looking around and expecting what I call "certifiable adults" to enter a room, only to realize that my peers and I are the adults. Druckerman's book focuses more on being in your 40s, but I, as a 30-something, still found her thoughts and anecdotes relatable. That said, I don't think Pamela and I are meant to be future BFFs who are going to go do dinner while our hu ...more
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Pamela Druckerman is an American journalist and the author of Bringing Up Bébé (The Penguin Press: 2012); the U.K. version of the same book - French Children Don’t Throw Food (Doubleday UK: 2012); and Lust In Translation (The Penguin Press: 2007).

From 1997 to 2002 she was a staff reporter at The Wall Street Journal, based in Buenos Aires, São Paulo and New York. Her Op-eds and articles
“(Perhaps he was recalling the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, who wrote in the nineteenth century: “When we are ascending the hill of life, death is not visible: it lies down at the bottom of the other side. But once we have crossed the top of the hill, death comes in view—death, which, until then, was known to us only by hearsay.”)” 1 likes
“Perhaps he was recalling the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, who wrote in the nineteenth century: “When we are ascending the hill of life, death is not visible: it lies down at the bottom of the other side. But once we have crossed the top of the hill, death comes in view—death, which, until then, was known to us only by hearsay.”)” 1 likes
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