All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg

The urgency: Hard and hilarious and forgiving and gracious and sexy and family is the best and very worst and we hurt each other in the most spectacular ways. Also do the work that lights you up despite those “mentors” that scrape your face away.

How I felt reading it: Like being cool and properly alone and vibrant and confident and ignoring the little ember inside and then noticing it enough to press it against the skin of the grieving and then having one final long gulp of sweet wine before letting the ember just set everything on fire, a relief, the right love.

Where I read it: First half with baby Felix asleep on me (also: the grossest man in the book is named Felix and cruelest woman in book named Felicia – child you are never allowed to have a straggly goatee or heart of evil). Second half in bed alone with blankets piled all around and my Eileen Myles pillow case which I had to sob into for the last three chapters.

Lines that destroyed you:

1:

Every word of those last three chapters: “The Actress,” “All Grown Up,” and “Come Together.”

2:

“‘Hi,’ Baron says.

‘Nope,’ I say.”

👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽

3: “Her life is architected, elegant and angular, a beauty to behold, and mine is a stew, a juicy, sloppy mess of ingredients and feelings and emotions, too much salt and spice, too much anxiety, always a little dribbling down the front of my shirt. But have you tasted it? Have you tasted it. It’s delicious.”

Gif that describes this book:

 

The final word: Some seriously great and moving steamy quick sex scenes, and also some amazingly perfect bad sex.

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Ann Ward is Senior Poetry Editor of Cosmonauts Avenue and Co-Curator of Springhouse Magazine. For 8 years she helped run the Summer Literary Seminars in Kenya, Lithuania, and Montreal. Her work has appeared most recently in Washington Square Review, GlitterMob, Stroboscope, Matrix Magazine, and CV2. Originally from Kingston, Ontario, Ann is currently an MFA candidate in fiction at UMass Amherst.

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