Book review: Adulting 101

Adulting 101

How to Survive the Real World

Jen Thorpe

Kwela Books

Review: Lauren O’Connor-May

I thought this book would be more tongue-in-cheek but actually it takes itself very seriously.

It is split into digestible bites, the first bite being a chapter titled “How to read this book”, just in case you were wondering.

After that the second chapter is all about self-care and the author spends 60 pages talking about sleep, meditation, and mental and physical well-being.

The book then finally delves into more practical subjects; finances, relationships, real estate, government, crime and what to do in a crisis, to name a few.

Some of these chapters would indeed be useful to emerging adults, especially those about budgeting, workers’ rights and the pros and cons of renting and buying, etc.

Others I felt were rather presumptuous. What, I wondered, qualified the author to give highly generalised advice about diverse and personal subjects, such as “good sex” for example?

I read her bio at the back of the book for some clues. Ms Thorpe, it says, is a feminist writer and reseacher. She has a Master’s degree in politics and another in creative writing. Her day job is a gender analyst.

While Ms Thorpe is a well-educated and an award-winning author, I still strongly felt that some subjects could well have been left out of the book. There are some things that are so heavily affected by life experience, culture and religion that generalising them in a 300-page book is rather irreverent.

Other chapters I felt were sadly absent. One of my personal adulting challenges has been car buying and maintenance and navigating the pitfalls of insurance. These were not covered in the book.

Furthermore, I felt that the book had a very spoon-feeding and coddling style, which defeats the purpose of teaching emerging adults about being responsible.