Adult Onset by Ann-Marie MacDonald

There have been so many rave reviews of ‘Adult Onset’ that tells of a week in the life of author Mary Rose as she struggles to care for her children and come to terms with the relationships she has had with her family, that I was delighted to receive a copy for my blog. I loved ‘Fall On Your Knees’ by the same author.

However, I struggled with ‘Adult Onset’; so much so that initially I gave up and read a couple of other books before returning to it. It wasn’t until this second attempt at reading that I realised what is so clever about Ann-Marie MacDonald’s writing. I didn’t like Mary Rose, I couldn’t empathise with her and I hated the toddler Maggie. I found the day-to-day life they lead tedious and frustrating. And that’s the point. MacDonald has created a world where daily life can be mundane to the point of breaking a person’s soul, making them question how they got to be where they are and whom they have become.

The themes explored in ‘Adult Onset’ are huge. Our relationships with out parents, siblings, with our children and lovers are dissected and examined. Our neuroses and our fears are laid bare. As I read there was very much the horrible realisation that, in Mary Rose and Dolly’s situations, I may very well have behaved as badly or even worse.

Although I can’t say I enjoyed reading ‘Adult Onset’, I would say that I appreciate how clever and incisive a novel it is. Others, I’m sure, will love it.

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