60 pages 2 hours read

Emma Straub

All Adults Here

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2020

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Important Quotes

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“People their age—Astrid’s and Barbara’s—were too old for it to be outright tragedy, and seeing as Barbara had no children of her own, people were bound to call it a blessing, that is to say, a blessing that the school bus hadn’t run down someone else. But that didn’t seem fair to Barbara.”

(Chapter 1, Page 6)

Astrid is in a time of her life where people dismiss her. She has done her part for society, becoming a wife and raising children. At 68 years old, she feels she is no longer viewed as useful. Astrid realizes that the reality of her mortality at her age means that tragic accidents, such as the one that killed Barbara, are not viewed as all that tragic. This fact highlights the lack of concern society as a whole feels for the elderly.

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“What more had he become? Sure, he had a wife, he had children, he had a business, a house, but Elliot thought that by the time he was in his forties he would have more. The cruelest part of becoming middle-aged was that it came on the heels of one’s own youth, not some other, better youth, and that it was too late to start over.”

(Chapter 5, Page 30)

On paper, it seems Elliot has the things most people in his society want. Still, Elliot feels like he’s missing out on something, though he can’t pinpoint what that something is. This emphasizes Elliot’s inability to live in the present moment and his internal struggle about what he wants from life. Elliot’s aging bothers him, and he worries that he hasn’t accomplished enough. The fact that he frames his life within societal norms, like a family and a career, also characterizes him as someone who needs validation.

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“Some people wanted to get out of their hometowns, in order to prove themselves. That was the old-fashioned way, to set out for the big city on foot and drive home in a Rolls-Royce. Elliot felt exactly the opposite. What would success matter, if it happened somewhere else? He wanted witnesses.”

(Chapter 5, Page 31)

Just as with the previous quote, these lines show Elliot’s need for acknowledgment and praise. Later, it’s revealed that Elliot is stuck on the idea that his mother has never believed in him, which became the driving force behind his pursuit of external happiness.

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By Emma Straub