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

Rory McGovern has what many people would consider the perfect life.  Forty-something, she has a creative freelance job, two beautiful children, and is married to an actor.  She is in the prime of her life and loving it.

Until one day, her husband Blake returns home from auditioning, despairing over losing out on another part, and announces that he needs a break.  In other words, he’s leaving.  Just like that, Rory is a single mother in need of a job.  

When a colleague tells her of an opportunity at a digital media start-up, Rory jumps at it because she has no other options.  But this new job is a high-end lifestyle website - for kids.  Rory now has to spend her days sourcing furniture and home decor for toddlers.  On top of that, her bosses are girls barely out of childhood themselves.  Can Rory navigate this new, foreign world of millennials while holding her marriage and family together?

How to Be a Grown-up is the newest novel from Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus, authors of the wildly successful The Nanny Diaries.  Funny and entertaining, this is a novel that will resonate with any woman trying to navigate the digital age.

I always enjoy the books that McLaughlin and Kraus write.  They’re not always stand-outs for me, but they are consistently enjoyable that whenever I see a new book from them, I pick it up.  However, I was hesitant at first about this book because it sounded a lot like The Knockoff by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza.  And while it definitely took a different path from it, I was comparing it to that book throughout the entire thing.  

This sort of story is always fun.  A main character that is starting life over again, in a world that is completely new to them.  And what better place for them to find their way than in the new digital age.  I love the way that this book pokes fun at this world, especially with the lifestyle site for kids and the kids (because that’s what they are) who run it.  This is where I felt the strength of the book was because it was so much fun to be a fly on the wall of this absurd workplace.

The book lacked for me in the parts of Rory’s personal life.  She just didn’t live up to the title for me, I never felt like she understood how a grown-up was to behave.  I had a hard time relating to her because I had a hard time believing she would put up with her husband and his antics.  


As I mentioned, it was hard to read this book without comparing it to The Knockoff and in that comparison I feel that this book didn’t come out on top.  It is still an enjoyable read in its own right and is a great book when you’re looking for something fun.  It just wasn’t as well-rounded as it could have been.

I received a copy of this book courtesy of the publisher through NetGalley. The opinions expressed above are my own.

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