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Adults by Emma Jane Unsworth


When I picked up Adults by Emma Jane Unsworth I wasn’t really expecting to find it as moving and as thought-provoking as I did. The Times described it as “A sharp, funny tale of trying to be yourself in the age of Instagram” it is very funny in places but it also really got me to stop and think.


Jenny is a 35 year old journalist. If you looked at her Instagram feed you’d be fooled into thinking she’s living the perfect life. The reality is she’s falling apart. A simple post about her breakfast, a croissant, has her anxiously analysing the perfect hashtags which really is the least of her worries as the rest of her life is a mess. Her career is about to end, her boyfriend has left her and her friends are fed up with her too. To top it all her mother is about to move in with her.


Jenny is such an interesting character, there were points where I found her shallow, self-obsessed and unlikeable but then the more I read I started to recognise her anxiety and vulnerability. Not only has she become totally consumed by her Instagram feed, she is also obsessed with one woman and is desperately seeking her approval and attention.


As Jenny starts to spiral deeper into her obsessions, at the cost of her friendships and sanity, I did start to feel quite sad. I think most people are able to separate real-life from Insta-life but I’m sure there are people like Jenny who allow it to take over. There’s a brilliant scene where Jenny’s mum says “So let me get this straight.... You’re upset because someone you don’t know might not like a version of you that doesn’t really exist”.


I really enjoyed reading Adults, it is a timely tale of addiction, friendships, family and finding your way as an adult. It is very well told, funny, heartbreaking and thought provoking and one I’d definitely recommend.


I’d love to hear your thoughts on this one. Also have you read her other book, Animals, and if so would you recommend it?

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