As Clueless As I Ever Was

Now that I’m supposed to be an adult, I find myself trying to read more “grown up” novels.  You know, less “Divergent” and more “Gone Girl.” But it’s been a bit difficult to find books that are both intriguing, fun to read, and relatable. While books like the aforementioned are great in their own way, they didn’t necessarily strike a chord with me. They weren’t relatable.

I want books that are like my favorite TV shows and movies. You know why I love shows like “Friends” and “New Girl” and movies like “Silver Linings Playbook”? They are all about characters around my age who are still trying to adjust to this whole “adulthood” nonsense.

Which is why I was thrilled when I discovered fiction author Jonathan Tropper after seeing the film adaptation of one of his books, “This Is Where I Leave You.”  You probably remember seeing trailers for this movie. It stars Tina Fey, Jason Bateman, Jane Fonda, the guy from “Girls,” and the congressman Kevin Spacey murdered in “House of Cards.”

Anyway, after seeing “This Is Where I Leave You,” I dug around amazon.com searching for more of Tropper’s books.  Turns out his works have a common theme: around 30-years-old-ish characters who have no idea where their life is going. I settled on “Plan B,” a story about a group of 30-year-old friends from college who are are all going through different types of quarter-century crises. The books had a couple of great passages that really articulate what it’s like to be a mid-20-something or early 30-something.

“Thirty… shit. It’s a nice round number to arrive at if you have it all together. Success, love, a family, the overall sense that you actually belong on the planet. If you have all that, you can wear thirty well. But if you don’t, if feels like you’ve missed the deadline, and suddenly your chances of ever getting it right, of ever achieving true happiness and fulfillment, are fading fast. You realize that all your hopes and dreams up until this point were actual expectations that, still unrealized, have become desperate prayers…”

The book was a good, fun, and occasionally thought-provoking read that often reflected some of my own thoughts about transitioning from higher education to the “real world.” It also reiterated something I realized lately: contrary to what we believed as kids, adults have no idea what they are doing and they are not in complete control of anything. Kind of a terrifyingly comforting reiteration to get from a book, but I’ll take it. I suppose it just confirms that we’re all just winging it.

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