How to Be a Grown-up by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

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☆••*´¨`*•.☆•• 4-stars ☆••*´¨`*•.☆••



A timely novel about a forty-something wife and mother thrust back into the workforce, where she finds herself at the mercy of a boss half her age.

Rory McGovern is entering the ostensible prime of her life when her husband, Blake, loses his dream job and announces he feels like taking a break from being a husband and father. Rory was already spread thin and now, without warning, she is single-parenting two kids, juggling their science projects, flu season, and pajama days, while coming to terms with her disintegrating marriage. And without Blake, her only hope is to accept a full-time position working for two full-time twenty-somethings.

A day out of b-school, these girls think they know it all and have been given the millions from venture capitalists to back up their delusion that the future of digital media is a high-end lifestyle site for kids! (Not that anyone who works there has any, or knows the first thing about actual children.) Can Rory learn to decipher her bosses lingo, texts that read like license plates, and arbitrary mandates? And is there any hope of saving her marriage? With her family hanging by a thread, Rory must adapt to this hyper-digitized, over-glamorized, narcissistic world of millennials whatever it takes.

Since their diabolically funny (The New York Times, on The Nanny Diaries) debut, Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus have proven their ability to illuminate provocative issues with wry wit and heartfelt emotion. How to Be a Grown-up is an entertaining and insightful story sure to resonate with all those readers who first fell in love with The Nanny Diaries.


I have not read any of Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus’ previous books, and I was delightfully surprised by their co-authored book, How to Be a Grown-up. The book is campy, fun, and pithy.

How to Be a Grown-up is an engaging story about a 40-year-old woman who is having to start over when her self-absorbed husband’s acting career tanks and he wants out of their marriage. While that cirmcumstance does not sound like a fun read, McLaughlin and Kraus throw in some absurdly funny and hopefully romantic situations for main character Rory McGovern.

Rory gave up her career to be a loving mother and a devoted wife. She is attractive, smart and talented. She throws herself back into the working world only to find that she must now contend with bosses who are half her age and have no experience beyond their sheltered, posh upbringing. The obscenely wealthy secondary characters are humorous in their trite, myopic lives and views. Rory manages the obstacle course of these posh bosses and clients with the excellent support of her best friends Claire and Jessica.

Blake, the near-do-well actor and soon to be ex-husband of Rory, is a very unlikable schlub. He is self-absorbed, juvenile, and thanks to his parents, he has never learned how to handle rejection in his career or any of life’s little difficulties.

How to Be a Grown-up is mature chick-lit. By the end of the book, Rory feels like she has figured out how to be a grown-up. She has definitely come into her own, and she clearly deserves good things she has developed for herself and her family.





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