Monday, June 17, 2019

What Adulthood Looks Like...

Actually, this blog post title is missing a question mark. Regardless how old you are from the mathematical point of view and how many adulthood responsibilities you are assigned, what exactly does it mean to behave as one on a regular basis is highly problematic. With the last theories regarding the need to listen to the voice of the 'inner child', the understanding of such a concept is becoming even more problematic.
In The Adults, the debut novel by Caroline Hulse, two couples, out of them two 'exes' are getting together for the winter holidays in a winter resort to offer to the little girl a warm, family-like ambiance. Although all the four of them look like simple, uncomplicated adults with a life of their own and with a deep acceptance of their relationship history and failures, the moment when they are getting together is unleashing hidden emotions, half-truth and way too much unhappiness. Meanwhile, a 7 yo girl - the reason why the couples are there - is finding a comfortable shelter against the big people nonsense in her discussions with Posey, an imaginary rabbit, as a way to counter the adult confusion.
The dynamics between the each member of the couple builds up through tensed dialogues and various everyday life interactions. The story is so simple and hard to offer too many surprises that the reader might really need to be entinced into going deep through the story. Therefore, there are some little hints about a dramatic - absurd at a certain point - incident that will take place at the end of the book that keeps the attention awake despite a certain level of predictibility of the story. 
I particularly loved how the dialogues are build, through which the characters are not only interacting with each other but also discover themselves. At a great extent, this is the only way to see the characters themselves.
The reality is that after a certain age, getting back into a relationship means dealing with a lot of loads from the past, with or without children. There are memories and wounds and failures and secret dreams of taking the ex back, maybe one day. Things are forcefully complicated because of the histories and it is not always an easy task to deal with them. Sometimes you need a lot of humor and a certain easiness of the being - quote from the title of a book by Milan Kundera where actually a white lie reveals deep dramatic truths about a relationship - which shall not be coped with according to the classical adulthood-focused couple approach. Some couples survive, some not, and not always because the two parts of the couple are adults enough.
Although an easy read for the weekend or the vacation time (regardless the time of the year, although the book is set during the winter holidays), The Adults asks some serious questions about relationships, especially in complex family structures, about the need - and lack of - honesty in explaining feelings and open up to the other person, but also in approaching life a bit easier, without overthinking all the time. Being an adult can involve being a bit of childish sometimes.

Rating: 3.5 stars

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