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What It Means To Be ‘All Grown Up’

Zach Smith Photography
Jami Attenberg, author, "All Grown Up"
What It Means To Be ‘All Grown Up’
Author Jami Attenberg On What It Means To Be ‘All Grown Up’ GUEST: Jami Attenberg, author, "All Grown Up" Julia Evans, production director, So Say We All

This is KPBS Midday Edition I am Maureen Cavanaugh. Said when you got your first apartment when he got married or had a baby most of us use shared milestones to track our path through life. That does not always work. My guess new novel is about a woman who is newly Porter -- 40 but has avoided the usual milestones and now wonders what all grown up remains. Joining the is Jamie Altenburg other of all grown up. She will be speaking at a meeting this week. Julia Evans director also joins me The protagonist in a book agree it -- Andrea Byrne is single has no kids she is not really caught up in a high-powered career but for the most part that is okay with her. Why is she going through and existential crisis. She does not know fairly have the cage for knowing that she is an adult herself. The book is kind of a journey for her to find that out. Is it really that unconventional. You would think she wouldn't be seems that all around us their traditional milestones think she lives in New York City which is sort of dispenser very quick which is not really were laid -- worried about not being married and she's not necessarily made to feel bad about it but she just does not understand or she is just trying to uncover what it does mean to be an adult. It is not these things necessarily what does it mean. Most of the book is written in first person. I am wondering why he wanted to write in her voice. I just heard her talking to me right away so immediately she grabbed me and I wanted to feel like a memoir and I wanted to feel really urgent and captivating. I was thinking about the way that we read now and consume information that I just wanted to feel very up close and intimate and personal As I mentioned earlier it will be part of your reading series this weekend. What is about her work that makes her a good for what you're trying to do with the family. I think it is just what she said she right and a very urgent and relevant way. I have left her work since reading may see a couple of years ago it was historical but it was still really in your case with this character and I love that about her writing. Interested in what she said about the way that we read things these days and the fact that this sort of have to be sort of urgent. Her whole story had to be sort of urgent and really in our face. At one point in the story Angela's mom tells her she must read this book about being single. Andrea has no interest in reading about what you think must read your book I want everyone to read my book. There's a little bit were people -- people like her college friends are posted on her Facebook wall her coworker hands it to her and the candidate tries to make a and she does not want to read it. I don't want this book to be that but the people several years single so you have to read it. There is a dysfunctional family story that is in a I have been told that it might feel like crucial reading for men as well. Andrea is an independent woman but she's also a bit of a disconnected human being were are you concerned that she might want to readers is been hard to care about Everybody has an opinion about her. I did not necessarily like her all the time but I love to I thought she was interesting and I wanted to spend time with her and that's where the in a book and also she is really funny. She is a very witty character and she kind of uses her humor and I use my humor to kind of keep people interested in the book but some people are looking for a perfectly likable character and I would not suggest this book for them. She is deeply flawed but those of the most interesting people to read about. This has attracted national high-profile authors what you think that is I truly wish I knew. I think there is a word-of-mouth element to the literary world that is actually how Jamie Dallas she asked if it was worth swinging through San Diego on her tour are going straight to LA and people mention yeah there's some reading series in San Diego get in touch. I think that is important the way that the literary world tuner other authors are and other small presses Resolving the characters in the book the way that you do is there a definition of growing up that you have come up with I was not interested necessarily writing a single woman in the city story because it's obviously been done but were. There's a lot of interesting structural things that go on with the book and I found a way to approach it in a new and fresh way but I also hesitated reminding it because in order to write a book about it even though -- I had to figure it out for me.. Do you want but I don't know if it's necessarily the I did a lot of soul-searching so for me it is taking responsibility for the choices that I make an understanding why I am making this decision. You can have a baby and it does not mean you are a grown up you have a baby and take care of the baby and become a good parent I think you are on your way to becoming a grown up. Jami Attenberg will be reading at the foundry event this Saturday at 7 PM. I've been speaking to Jami and Julie Altenburg. Thank you so much. be sure to watch evening edition at 5:00 and 6:30 to not. Join us again tomorrow for midday edition that starts at noon if you ever miss a show you can check out the midday edition podcast. I am Maureen Cavanaugh thank you for listening.

Courtesy Photo
Book cover, "All Grown Up" by Jami Attenburg

When did you finally feel all grown up? Was it when you got your first apartment? When you got married? Or had a baby?

Most Americans use shared milestones to track their paths through life. But that doesn't always work.

Jami Attenberg's new novel is about a single, middle-aged woman who is living life by her own rules. Even so, she struggles with a little existential crisis.

"I think she's seeing everyone else around her achieving those adult milestones and she doesn't have the gauge for knowing if she's an adult herself and the book is a journey for her to find that out," Attenberg said.

The New York Times best-selling author will be reading from her book, "All Grown Up," in San Diego on Saturday. The event is part of the literary and performing arts non-profit, So Say We All's reading series, "The Foundry".


Attenberg and Julia Evans, production director for So Say We All, discussed what it means to be a grown up, Tuesday on Midday Edition.