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All Grown Up

3.40  ·  Rating details ·  14,872 ratings  ·  1,998 reviews
From the New York Times best-selling author of The Middlesteins comes a wickedly funny novel about a thirty-nine-year-old single, childfree woman who defies convention as she seeks connection.

Who is Andrea Bern? When her therapist asks the question, Andrea knows the right things to say: she’s a designer, a friend, a daughter, a sister. But it’s what she leaves unsaid—she’s
Kindle Edition, 209 pages
Published March 7th 2017 by Mariner Books
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Bitter Murky I'm halfway through the book and the way you find out Andrea's last name is indirectly. At some point the author refers to her family as the Bern fami…moreI'm halfway through the book and the way you find out Andrea's last name is indirectly. At some point the author refers to her family as the Bern family. And that's how you know. (less)
Rebecca It's just the first chapter. The rest of the novel shifts to first person point of view but keeps the present tense.…moreIt's just the first chapter. The rest of the novel shifts to first person point of view but keeps the present tense.(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.40  · 
Rating details
 ·  14,872 ratings  ·  1,998 reviews

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Oct 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Please forgive me while I give my own book five stars but if one does not believe their own book deserves five stars then why bother writing.
Nov 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a really sharp, tight novel about being a woman who is 39 and then 40 and chooses to be unmarried, without children. Andrea works in advertising and drinks a lot and sometimes does drugs and has a lot of sex, and lives a full life and carries a lot of pain and is a woman many people will relate to. I particularly appreciated Andrea's rough edges and mess. At times, she was infuriating but, we all are infuriating, at times. This is also a very New York novel. All Grown Up is also a love l ...more
Larry H
Feb 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I'd rate this 4.5 stars.

"What do you do when you already know what your problem is? What if it's not really a problem? It's only a problem if I want a relationship. If I want to fit into a conventional mode of happiness. It's only a problem if I care. And I can't tell if I care."

Andrea isn't really sure what she wants. But then again, she's not really sure what she doesn't want, either. She has a tendency to fall for the wrong guys—she gets taken in at the start of a relationship (even a fling),
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

One word review: Meh.

I feel like I channeled my inner Barney Stinson and shouted from the rooftops “CHALLENGE ACCEPTED” to this dare . . . .

I also learned maybe the only thing that works less for me than the short story is the vignette. Especially a whole shit-ton of them starring Andrea, the fictional character I’d most like to punch in the throat so far this year.

In addition, I’m terrified that this book is supposed to be all ab
Feb 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
A high 4 stars! I really liked All Grown Up. I liked the way it's written and the raw and honest emotions it depicts. Andrea lives in New York, where she grew up with her activist mother, drug addicted father and musician brother. Andrea hoped to be an artist but ends up in a low end corporate job. She is eternally single, doesn't particularly like children, and has a tendency to drink too much and cycle through unsatisfying encounters and short relationships. Told from Andrea's perspective, eac ...more
Sometimes the perfect book finds you at the perfect time. That is how All Grown Up found me. Even though I am a 22-year-old (gay, Asian) man, I already tire of society's patriarchal message that I need a boyfriend to be happy, that even if I feel joy with myself and my friends now, at some point I should try to find a husband and kids to complete me. I have searched for a book about a character who faces similar pressures and does not concede. Andrea Bern in All Grown Up is that character and so ...more
4.5 Stars
This book GETS me! I kept reading and saying constantly to myself "YES!!!!!!!!!!!". I live in a world where society still tells women that they have to get married, have children, live up to these stereotypes of being a female in the world, yet-- what if you find that you don't want those things? Or you feel like you're being softly pushed into something that doesn't work for your lifestyle? Can you take control of your life choices? Can you decide what makes sense for you and what does
Jessica Woodbury
This cover and this title and this marketing copy all seem like they came from a different book, a wry and witty look at single-by-choice life. But that didn't feel like the book I read.

Let me give a bit of my own perspective: I am single (technically divorced) and I am at a point in life where single-by-choice is sounding pretty good. That it is an actual choice I would make. I have put a lot of thought into this myself, which may be why I struggled so much with Andrea, the center of this novel
Jessica Jeffers
I’ve talked about it a little bit before, but I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety for much of my adult life. It comes and goes in cycles—I have periods where I feel more anxious or more sad, as well as periods where I feel generally okay. I’ve worked on these issues in different ways over the years, but one of the things that’s remained true is that my mental health sometimes gets in the way of my ability to pursue goals, to overcome obstacles, and to live the best possible life. Acknowle ...more
Skyler Autumn
Feb 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
5 Stars

I adore this book. This novel like it's main character is scattered. The chapters jump around in short bursts from Andrea's childhood to one of her many failed relationships in her 30s to the birth of her best friend's child. We are given the scope of Andrea's life and what she has cultivated for herself so far in her 40 years on this planet. The passages at first seem unrelated but when put together capture Andrea and her essence as a struggling adult.

This book is such a great examina
Dash fan
Jun 07, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
2☆ Not for me.

Not really sure how to rate this one.
Maybe it's because I just didn't get it.
It just wasn't for me.

Story was narrated through the past and present of Andrea's life. But was not consistent jumped through time periods then back again .
She is single, no children,loves to drink and have alot sex and drugs. She's has a job she hates.
Andrea doesn't seem to have any emotional connection to any other characters. Comes across as spoilt, whiny and annoying.

I had high hopes for this book.
Mar 27, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Do not believe this:
"From the New York Times best-selling author of The Middlesteins comes a wickedly funny novel about a thirty-nine-year-old single, childfree woman who defies convention as she seeks connection."

Sounds (and looks) like a breezy, fun book, right? It isn't. The only thing the blurb got right is the main character's age and childless status. That's not necessarily a bad thing, it just wasn't what I expected.

The book had some moments of dark humor but it's not what I would descr
May 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: review-pending
fulfilling my 2020 goal to read (at least) one book each month that i bought in hardcover and put off reading long enough that it is now in paperback.
Elyse  Walters
Oct 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
“New furniture feels grown-up. Also I mostly stopped doing drugs, which feels extra grown-up”.
Ha.... but it’s not that simple- is it?

An excellent intimate examination of self-aware 39 year old Andrea Bern.
Big girls don’t cry, and growing up is hard to do!

Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
I had mixed emotions while reading this book. I picked it up from BOTM because I'm similar in age to the main character, and I thought she might be relatable. Well, she wasn't super relatable for me in the typical ways, and many times I was very annoyed with her and her antics, but ultimately, I did find enjoyment in reading about her life and her family. This is a tight, quick read, and I'm grateful I took the time to read it. ...more
Mar 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Wowwww. It has been a while since I've read a book that felt so raw. See my full review: ...more
Andrea Bern is a 39-year-old New Yorker with an office job and a penchant for taking drugs and sleeping around. She was once an artist, though: she attended art school in Chicago, and used to paint the Empire State Building from her window every day – that is, until a condo development blocked her view. So now she’s a corporate sellout, but is she really any worse off than her brother, who’s stayed true to his identity as a musician but can barely afford the health care for his terminally ill da ...more
Book Riot Community
Andrea is almost forty and dealing with a whole set of issues about her life that are entirely separate from the ones society thinks she should have. So what if she isn’t married with children? She has her own problems to deal with. Attenberg writes Andrea as a smart, sexy woman in NYC who is doing what she wants with her life, right or wrong, and not apologizing for it. I loved how at times she is a wise sage, and at other times, a selfish mess. It makes her so achingly human. This is Attenberg ...more
Feb 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the second chapter of All Grown Up, the narrator, Andrea Bern, relays this: “A book is published. It’s a book about being single...I have no interest in reading this book. I am already single.”

The value of a book, often, is reflected in the reader’s own experiences and biases. I was single way into my adult years, surprising my family and friends (and particularly, myself) when I finally decided to couple with an emotionally healthy man who truly “got” me. After living the single life – the u
I really love Jami Attenberg's writing. She knows how to perfectly balance humor and heart. "All Grown Up" is a character-driven novel told through vignettes and non-linear style. I really liked the protagonist, Andrea Bern, she is extremely witty - but she is also deeply-flawed. She carries a lot of emotional scars from her turbulent childhood. Her father died of a heroin overdose when she was 15. As she transitions into adulthood, we get an unfiltered glimpse into Andrea's fragile psyche and i ...more
Whispering Stories
Has anyone ever told you to grow up and act your age? Tell you that it’s about time you got your act together and settled down before it’s too late? What if you weren’t sure whether you wanted to do either, what if you wanted to go against society’s norms and not be a wife and mother, but to stay carefree and single?

Andrea is fast approaching 40, she’s single and child free. She works in advertising, a job she hates, and has her own apartment in New York. Many would look at Andrea and feel envio
Apr 02, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.0 Stars. This book was just OK for me. The writing was good but I was bored with the storyline.
Mar 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This stunningly, achingly good novel in vignettes (if anyone says they're interconnected short stories punch them in the face) just blew me away. The marketing and jacket of All Grown Up package it as something it's not. Sure there are funny moment but this is not a funny book. It's about the scars we carry from childhood and how they help and hinder us as adults. We go deep into Andrea Bern's anxious and self-sabotaging mind in this book and it can be an uncomfortable place but, jeepers it feel ...more
Think of it as a short story collection, except all the stories are about the same person. All Grown Up follows Andrea Bern through different stages of her life, non-chronologically, and is written as a series of vignettes. Most of them concentrate on Andrea in her late thirties and early forties: single, childless, working in an okay-but-not-brilliant job in advertising, renting her apartment. As expected, she struggles with the fact that people define her by these things, especially the lack ...more
Apr 05, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I just didn't enjoy this one. It seemed like all the main character did was drink, do drugs, and sleep with people she had just met. ...more
Aug 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a darkly funny look at Andrea Bern's life. She's 39 and lives life on her own terms, not one that society expects from her. Further introspection and a look at her station in life, it's ok to be single and childless. From work to her relationships with family and friends, Andrea is a great character and I connected with her. All Grown Up has a great message to live your life on your own terms and what makes you happy, not what you think is expected by others and fortunately for Andrea sh ...more
A sad and depressing book about a woman unhappy with her life and doing nothing to improve it.

Andrea is a single woman and a former artist. Her youth was difficult and her adult life isn’t really better on the relationships side, with disappointing romances and shallow friendships. She tells about some events of her life, like drinking with her friends, casual sex, fights with her family, painful memories, etc.

This could be the interesting story of an empowered woman in her 40ies, single and wit
Kasa Cotugno
Mar 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: loc-usa-nyc, arc
This is more an inner monologue that provides its backstory through a hopscotch of vignettes, all of which creates a quilt when viewed as a whole. We first meet Andrea in her beloved rent controlled apartment on the East Side with a view of the Empire State Building, which view is doomed to be eliminated by progressive construction. This one detail could possibly be viewed as a metaphor for the entire book, which I found i liked a lot better than I thought at the outset. Andrea, a talented artis ...more
Book of the Month
By Judge Laia Garcia

“I’m the captain of the sinking ship that is my flesh.”

Andrea Bern is at her therapist’s office contemplating the answer to the question who are you? I’m only on page eleven of All Grown Up, but I can already tell that this is the perfect book to read on the first day of my “grown-woman takes first-ever alone vacation to an exotic location in order to shed past and re-emerge more powerful than ever.” I will sit in a banquet in the hotel re
A more complete review is available on my blog:

This book just didn’t work for me. The reviews credited this book with being funny but I found it to be sad more than anything. Andrea’s constant drinking, drug abuse and inability to connect with other people made reading this book feel dark and depressing. While I don’t feel that an author must stick to a chronological order when telling a story, this story jumped all over the place and repeated parts of the
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I'm the author of Instant Love, The Kept Man, The Melting Season, The Middlesteins, and Saint Mazie. My sixth book, All Grown Up, came out March 2017 and my latest novel, All This Could Be Yours, is forthcoming in October 2019. You can find me on twitter @jamiattenberg. I'm originally from the Chicago area, lived in New York City for twenty years, and am now happily a New Orleans resident. ...more

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