Adult Fantasy (Briohny Doyle, Scribe)
Is ‘adulthood’ still achieved by ticking off a series of milestones, like marriage, mortgages, careers and babies? How might those milestones—and our ability to tick them off—have changed since the baby boomers first reached adulthood? ‘If [my father’s] was the first generation that didn’t have to become their parents, is mine the generation that couldn’t if we tried?’ asks Briohny Doyle in Adult Fantasy, a book that blends memoir, sociology, pop-culture riffs and journalism to examine adulthood in the new millennium. It’s smart, insightful, and a pleasure to read, seamlessly combining serious analysis with wry asides. Doyle takes turning 30 as her driving force and connecting thread. But it’s not a narrow take on generational difference: it’s about how we value youth and maturity, finding ways to structure a life and make it meaningful, and the work of doing that outside traditional expectations if they don’t fit. Doyle explores changing adulthood in historical, social and cultural contexts (including a piercing ongoing analysis of the role of consumer culture), helping extend the book’s appeal beyond her fellow millennials to anyone interested in how societal change affects individual lives. This 41-year-old reader found much to identify with.
Jo Case is a bookseller at Readings Doncaster, and a freelance writer and reviewer