I was given an advanced reader’s copy of Grown Ups by Emma Jane Unsworth in exchange for an honest review. I struggled between 3 and 4 stars with this book and ultimately decided to round up to 4. At first, I found Jenny to be a bit over the top and thus, quite annoying, but I think that’s the point of the story.
Jenny’s life falls apart all at once: her boyfriend leaves, her ultra feminist magazine dumps her for not being hardcore enough, her roommates move out on her, her friends become agitated with her, and worst of all, Suzy Brambles has unfollowed her on Instagram. That last problem sounds absurd, right? Emma Jane Unsworth hilariously and honestly catches the absolute absurdity that IS social media. MOST of Jenny’s issues comes from her frenzied use of social platforms. She has become less interested in authentic experiences and more interested in the likes that she can accumulate from a perfectly captured croissant. She is utterly entranced by the likes of Suzy Brambles, people that frame their lives and self promote on the internet. She buys into their picture perfect lives and is in a constant competition with herself to keep up. Her job at the magazine makes her doubt herself even more. With every article she posts, the world has their comments. She should be MORE of a feminist, she should be writing about this or that topic, and all the other mean drivel that internet users spew safely from behind a screen, never having to see the impact they have on others lives.
Part of what made Jenny “annoying” to me at first was this constant need for attention. She would revolve whole parts of her life around social media. But then I realized… most of us do this to an extent. We don’t always stop to appreciate, we take a picture first and appreciate later. We want other people to validate our experience before we totally enjoy it. Social media makes us ALL a bit of a nut case at times, whether it’s creating perfect posts or dealing with the cruelties of the internet. Jenny isn’t dumb, by any means. She shows complete moments of self-awareness and is surprisingly accurate when analyzing others. Her addiction to the internet has quite literally become a sickness in her life, tearing her attention away from her friends, family, and love life.
Eventually, Jenny is very much made aware of her issues and begins to work towards a healthier life with the help of her friends and mother. Grown Ups was a quick read that made me alternatively laugh and cringe at the accuracies of social media usage. It comes out in the US on May 12th, 2020. It has already been released under the title Adults in the UK!