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‘I pictured myself a wine-dark streak in a TV desert, ears too full of the summer wind to hear that ominous ticking in the sky: the sound of a cultural clock counting me out of youth.’ Briohny Doyle turned thirty without a clear idea of what her adult life should look like. The world she lived in — with its global economic uncertainty, political conservatism, and precarious ‘I pictured myself a wine-dark streak in a TV desert, ears too full of the summer wind to hear that ominous ticking in the sky: the sound of a cultural clock counting me out of youth.’ Briohny Doyle turned thirty without a clear idea of what her adult life should look like. The world she lived in — with its global economic uncertainty, political conservatism, and precarious employment conditions — didn’t match the one her parents grew up in. She read article after article about the reluctance of millennials to embrace the traditional markers of adulthood: a stable job, a house in the suburbs, a nuclear family. But do these emblems of maturity mean the same thing today as they did thirty years ago? In this smart, spirited enquiry, Doyle examines whether millennials are redefining what it means to be an adult now. Blending personal essay and cultural critique, she ventures into the big claims of philosophy and the neon buzz of pop culture to ask: in a rapidly changing world, do the so-called adult milestones distract us from other measures of maturity?


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‘I pictured myself a wine-dark streak in a TV desert, ears too full of the summer wind to hear that ominous ticking in the sky: the sound of a cultural clock counting me out of youth.’ Briohny Doyle turned thirty without a clear idea of what her adult life should look like. The world she lived in — with its global economic uncertainty, political conservatism, and precarious ‘I pictured myself a wine-dark streak in a TV desert, ears too full of the summer wind to hear that ominous ticking in the sky: the sound of a cultural clock counting me out of youth.’ Briohny Doyle turned thirty without a clear idea of what her adult life should look like. The world she lived in — with its global economic uncertainty, political conservatism, and precarious employment conditions — didn’t match the one her parents grew up in. She read article after article about the reluctance of millennials to embrace the traditional markers of adulthood: a stable job, a house in the suburbs, a nuclear family. But do these emblems of maturity mean the same thing today as they did thirty years ago? In this smart, spirited enquiry, Doyle examines whether millennials are redefining what it means to be an adult now. Blending personal essay and cultural critique, she ventures into the big claims of philosophy and the neon buzz of pop culture to ask: in a rapidly changing world, do the so-called adult milestones distract us from other measures of maturity?

30 review for Adult Fantasy: searching for true maturity in an age of mortgages, marriages, and other adult milestones

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sam Cooney

    Give every single person in your life a copy of this book! I'm serious. What a ridiculously important contribution to the contemporary discussion of who we are and how we might live. Give every single person in your life a copy of this book! I'm serious. What a ridiculously important contribution to the contemporary discussion of who we are and how we might live.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mel Campbell

    The casual grace of Doyle's writing, and the ease with which she combines material from secondary sources with anecdote and analysis, made this book such a pleasure to read. I grieve that it is being received mainly as a voice-of-a-generation memoir rather than a lucid work of cultural criticism and social commentary. God I hate memoir as a genre, and I despise the industry pressure on authors to offer up the details of their personal lives as tools for a reader to understand other topics. I des The casual grace of Doyle's writing, and the ease with which she combines material from secondary sources with anecdote and analysis, made this book such a pleasure to read. I grieve that it is being received mainly as a voice-of-a-generation memoir rather than a lucid work of cultural criticism and social commentary. God I hate memoir as a genre, and I despise the industry pressure on authors to offer up the details of their personal lives as tools for a reader to understand other topics. I despise that audiences like reading these kinds of books, and that they succeed commercially. That said, many of the cultural moments, social situations and feelings Doyle recounts were familiar to me, and I felt soothed by this book – it reassured me that I'm not a unique loser, or even part of a generation of losers, but someone living in a moment when social, economic, political and technological shifts are changing what it means to be an adult in relation to goalposts we've been acculturated to believe are fixed and unchanging. This is why I appreciated the historical and cross-cultural comparisons Doyle makes. Mainly I felt exhausted and bad about myself after reading this book, though, because nonfiction writing is so intellectually draining for me and has negative connotations of commercial failure and audience indifference. The fact Doyle does it so well and has been widely acclaimed for her skill makes me feel depressed about ever attempting a book-length nonfiction project again. On the bright side, here's the discussion we had about Adult Fantasy on The Rereaders, the podcast I co-host.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lehia Johnston

    Briohny Doyle "is everything I hate about millennials" - a self righteous, completely selfcentred, directionless drag, who instead of finding direction for herself in life, decided to write a book having a go at anyone who has found their own direction or who has aims or goals or basically anyone who has achieved things she has not.  Imagine actually wanting kids!?!?! Or to marry the person you love!?!?! Or aspiring to have a career!?!?! How dare you!? What is wrong with you!?! Dont be ridiculous Briohny Doyle "is everything I hate about millennials" - a self righteous, completely selfcentred, directionless drag, who instead of finding direction for herself in life, decided to write a book having a go at anyone who has found their own direction or who has aims or goals or basically anyone who has achieved things she has not.  Imagine actually wanting kids!?!?! Or to marry the person you love!?!?! Or aspiring to have a career!?!?! How dare you!? What is wrong with you!?! Dont be ridiculous. You don't want these things, only society is telling you to want these things; no one could possibly want these things on their own accord! Or imagine being someone SO talented that you can be married AND have strong friendships as well?!?! Well that sort of person just does not exist according to this ray of sunshine. Ha.  I strongly disliked this book. I do not want anyone to read this book and think she represents our generation. Briohny judged everyone for doing things she didn't want to do, or things she could not do herself. But then also managed to judge people for judging.  She raised maybe two interesting points, then the rest of the book was just her trying to justify to herself her own insecurities about the decisions she was making and the path she was taking. If you don't want to be judged Briohny, get off your high horse and start enjoying your life. Get over yourself and your directionless, goalless, loveless, complaining personality and start having a good time. Embrace the choices you are making! Life if pretty awesome when you let go and enjoy it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Libby

    I've never read a book that summarized my feelings about the traditional markers of adulthood (marriage, children, homeownership, money/career) so completely and so eloquently. I eschew these markers but still find myself upset, feeling like a failure, or left out because I don't partake in them. According to my kindle I've highlighted 25 passages and that was me being sparing in my highlighting. A couple of them here (more later when I'm not typing on my phone): On how stupid it is to measure th I've never read a book that summarized my feelings about the traditional markers of adulthood (marriage, children, homeownership, money/career) so completely and so eloquently. I eschew these markers but still find myself upset, feeling like a failure, or left out because I don't partake in them. According to my kindle I've highlighted 25 passages and that was me being sparing in my highlighting. A couple of them here (more later when I'm not typing on my phone): On how stupid it is to measure the worth of a person using traditional markers of adulthood: Do we feel all right about the suicidal twenty-nine-year-old who sat in his therapist's office, doing the funeral exercise because he was just kind, not married or on a career path, and therefore felt he lacked intrinsic value? On caring about traditional markers of adulthood when they don't align with your values: 'I mean, every part of my logical self is like, fuck this noise, move on, live your life. But it does affect me. Sometimes it's totally paralysing.' [The amount of times I've had this conversation is ridiculous.] So many brilliant and kind people I know are hurt by our expectations of what 'adulthood' is. It's time we changed our markers of maturity. I hope Briohny's book helps inspire a growing movement towards that.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Michael Livingston

    This is brilliantly incisive, thought-provoking and regularly laugh-out-loud funny. Doyle is super smart, and lays out an original and sharp analysis of what adulthood means in our current age.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Bri Lee

    I just turned 25 and this book enunciates so many things I previously didn't have words for - a gentle, gnawing sense of dread about my next decade, a reluctance to peg my "success" against the markers laid out for me, what the fuck marriage even means these days - Doyle covers it all. It's good journalism but excellent memoir. I recommend it for everyone but particularly readers in their 20's and 30's. I just turned 25 and this book enunciates so many things I previously didn't have words for - a gentle, gnawing sense of dread about my next decade, a reluctance to peg my "success" against the markers laid out for me, what the fuck marriage even means these days - Doyle covers it all. It's good journalism but excellent memoir. I recommend it for everyone but particularly readers in their 20's and 30's.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rosamund

    Instantly recommend! Even though I am not from or in Australia, there were lots of relatable examples that apply across the board. It presents solid retorts and evidence to that type of well-off older person who likes to gaslight millennials and say they're lazy or whatever - we all know about avocado-gate - without demonising any particular generation. There's also a strong personal element from the author which creates a nice thread throughout (hint: dogs!). The book didn't make me any more op Instantly recommend! Even though I am not from or in Australia, there were lots of relatable examples that apply across the board. It presents solid retorts and evidence to that type of well-off older person who likes to gaslight millennials and say they're lazy or whatever - we all know about avocado-gate - without demonising any particular generation. There's also a strong personal element from the author which creates a nice thread throughout (hint: dogs!). The book didn't make me any more optimistic, but I guess at least there is validation in numbers...

  8. 5 out of 5

    Dasha M

    I absolutely needed this book at this period of my life. It came to me courtesy of a friend, and acted as a touchstone in a singularly difficult time.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Nick

    I would easily recommend this.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    This started and finished well, with some interesting and intelligent patterns and observations on trends in developed countries in relation to the 20s to 30 age group. In these parts, Doyle seemed interested in coming to grips with the pressures and conflicts of this group, and understanding the way they are perceived by middle aged and older adults, with some insightful thoughts on the reasons for misunderstandings and portrayals in the media of the relationships between the age groups. Unfort This started and finished well, with some interesting and intelligent patterns and observations on trends in developed countries in relation to the 20s to 30 age group. In these parts, Doyle seemed interested in coming to grips with the pressures and conflicts of this group, and understanding the way they are perceived by middle aged and older adults, with some insightful thoughts on the reasons for misunderstandings and portrayals in the media of the relationships between the age groups. Unfortunately, I'm only really talking about the first and last chapter here. Because then, for the vast majority of the book, the narrative descended into Doyle's personal experiences with struggling with the same problems, and her reluctance to see herself as an 'adult' despite being in her thirties now. It got too specific and personal to be of much use to the dispassionate observer, and not interesting enough to be entertaining for the sake of the stories she was telling about her own life. Personally, I think it is a bit of an indictment of her editors to let the book be published like this - it seemed not to know what it was; biographical stories on a theme or observations of generational differences, relatable to anybody. I might almost say the book seemed to suffer from the same identity crisis, self indulgence and insufficiently thought out verbal outpouring that we tend to associate with people who have never 'grown up', which of course is the very topic that Doyle is examining. Doesn't make for a very worthwhile use of my time, though, as a reader, as far as I'm concerned.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Scribe Publications

    Brilliant ... nuanced and engrossing … [Doyle] is intrepid and brutal, but only towards herself. She spills her doubt and angst yet she sallies onward, never judging or whining, always entertaining, open-hearted and open-minded … If you’re a millennial, or you love one, or you hope to live long enough to see the world governed by them, you should be reading Briohny Doyle. Toni Jordan, The Guardian It's dangerous to declare anyone the voice of your generation, but if Briohny Doyle was declared the Brilliant ... nuanced and engrossing … [Doyle] is intrepid and brutal, but only towards herself. She spills her doubt and angst yet she sallies onward, never judging or whining, always entertaining, open-hearted and open-minded … If you’re a millennial, or you love one, or you hope to live long enough to see the world governed by them, you should be reading Briohny Doyle. Toni Jordan, The Guardian It's dangerous to declare anyone the voice of your generation, but if Briohny Doyle was declared the voice of mine, I'd be nothing short of honoured. In this book, she somehow articulates and refines every foggy frustration and anxiety millennials feel about their status, place in life, and where they're headed. This is a book of consolation – reminding us we're not insane or alone – and revelation, by asking all the right questions and finding answers that never fail to surprise and help. Ben Law, Author of The Family Law A blend of personal essay and cultural criticism from one of Australia’s best emerging practitioners of the form … [Doyle] is emerging as one of Australia’s best essayists. Mel Campbell, The Rereaders Adult Fantasy is like a gut-punch from L'Étranger and a balm for anti–Gen Y rhetoric. Confronting, existential, tremendous. Anna Spargo-Ryan, Author of The Paper House A consolation to any underachiever, bursting with wry humour and sharp insight, while unearthing the contradictions of western cultural narratives. The Guardian Smart, insightful, and a pleasure to read, seamlessly combining serious analysis with wry asides. Jo Case, Books+Publishing four and a half stars Adult Fantasy is a thoughtful, honest, and engaging examination of the myths and realities of adulthood. It’s a real pleasure to accompany Doyle as she tugs at the threads of conventional adulthood and then re-weaves them into something softer, messier, and far more forgiving. Emily Maguire, Author of An Isolated Incident Briohny Doyle moves beyond generationalism to explore fledgling adulthood and the failures of neoliberalism with a sharp, lucid eye. Always warmhearted and frank, and often poignant, Adult Fantasy is a vital examination of what it means to come of age today. Jennifer Down, Author of Our Magic Hour I loved this book. I found myself underlining so much of it that I thought I may as well give up annotating, lest I render it unreadable; often I found myself reading it and nodding vigorously in agreement ... An absorbing mix of memoir and social critique for anyone curious about millennial ennui. I want to give this book to everyone I know. Kelsey Oldham, Readings Rising from the ashes of a tired argument [of conflict between boomers and millennials] is Adult Fantasy, guided by a lively voice and dark humour ... The style, a mash of personal essay and cultural criticism, is a regular feature of American nonfiction and exploded in 2015 with Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts. Similarly, Doyle critiques culture through self, and is tightly reined in her use of personal anecdotes ... Firmly establishing a growing nonfiction genre. The Australian Thoughtful, insightful and genuinely worth the time. Weaving together historical context, observation and her own laugh-out-loud-funny experiences, Adult Fantasy is cleverly written and very readable ... Doyle’s academic smarts lend the book cred, [bringing] rigour to a subject usually shrouded in hysteria and outrage. Boomers and generation X will get just as much out of reading as younger people ... Adult Fantasy is the beginning of a conversation about generationalism that Australia sorely needs to have. And Doyle has kicked it off in a careful, considered and compassionate way. Jamila Rizvi, Readings A deeply insightful exploration of how traditional milestones can be both outmoded and repressive ... A thoughtful book on the future of young people. Thuy On, The Big Issue Doyle’s voice is a mix of cynicism, wryness and impatient desire to shrug off the inheritance of adulthood and not give a shit. Nihilism mingles with paralysing self-awareness. She doesn’t pretend to speak for her generation, but her observational humour and emotional openness make it impossible for the reader not to relate to her struggle. The Monthly Sharp, entertaining ... a wide-ranging meditation and, in the end, a mature reflection on 50 years of neo-liberalism, millennial political apathy, and the conclusion that responsible freedom rests upon ensuring the freedom of others. Sydney Morning Herald A joy to read ... a thoughtful consideration of what getting older looks and feels like to one woman. Herald Sun Doyle observes – and writes – with extraordinary clarity and intellect ... [This is] a wholesale, redoubtable response to a sort of sour intergenerational bluster ... A few pages in, I started picturing Doyle as the Lorax: a beautiful mind, alone on a platform above the fray, bitter and wise and weary. Listener New Zealand Briohny Doyle gets it ... a well-informed and heartfelt meditation on “growing up” in the strange first decades of the twenty-first century. [This is] a smart read for anyone who suspects they might be an adult, but doesn't know how to be sure. This book helps you understand and, maybe more importantly, helps you feel understood. Brunswick Street Bookstore Briohny Doyle brings a sobering and deeply insightful perspective to the intergenerational war over what it means to be an adult. Citymag

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    Feeling a little bit calmer about my unconventional life and my choices now. Although yesterday someone did look at me like I had three heads when I told them I had no plans to have children. I guess I just have to dance to my own rhythm and try not to freak out.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    I rated this four stars because Doyle raises some really pertinent questions about how we live our lives and what society deems to be important. We should be questioning why we do things more often and this book serves as a good reminder. It also highlighted the complete uselessness of intergenerational sledging. It will however, be the last memoir style book I read by a millennial as I often find, as I did with this book, that the author’s message gets lost in a bunch of self-serving anecdotes I rated this four stars because Doyle raises some really pertinent questions about how we live our lives and what society deems to be important. We should be questioning why we do things more often and this book serves as a good reminder. It also highlighted the complete uselessness of intergenerational sledging. It will however, be the last memoir style book I read by a millennial as I often find, as I did with this book, that the author’s message gets lost in a bunch of self-serving anecdotes and references to their lives which to the reader are completely uninteresting. I just don’t think that this style of memoir story telling works personally unless you have something truly unique to share.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Felicity

    Yes, these waters be dark and stormy, but they're dark and stormy for everyone. Yes, these waters be dark and stormy, but they're dark and stormy for everyone.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    Not to embody stereotypically millennial traits like narcissism or anything, but I loved Briohny Doyle's Adult Fantasy – a series of personal (yet rigorously researched) essays that eerily reflected my own life and anxieties back at me. Adult Fantasy asks what it means to be an "adult", in a time when so many of the markers of adult success are out of reach in your 30s. Doyle's discussion of friendship, alternative living/home ownership plans, and the companionship of pets in adult life ~spoke t Not to embody stereotypically millennial traits like narcissism or anything, but I loved Briohny Doyle's Adult Fantasy – a series of personal (yet rigorously researched) essays that eerily reflected my own life and anxieties back at me. Adult Fantasy asks what it means to be an "adult", in a time when so many of the markers of adult success are out of reach in your 30s. Doyle's discussion of friendship, alternative living/home ownership plans, and the companionship of pets in adult life ~spoke to me~.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sonia Nair

    Adult Fantasy articulates many of the anxieties that keep me up at night, from not being able to afford a home anytime in the near future to the shifting goalposts of adulthood, which mean I'm on the brink of 30 but am without child, house, married partner (traditional markers of success). Although I found some parts repetitive, I enjoyed Doyle's charting of the common financial worries across generations (which were frankly, terrifying) and the shifting notions of success. It simultaneously soo Adult Fantasy articulates many of the anxieties that keep me up at night, from not being able to afford a home anytime in the near future to the shifting goalposts of adulthood, which mean I'm on the brink of 30 but am without child, house, married partner (traditional markers of success). Although I found some parts repetitive, I enjoyed Doyle's charting of the common financial worries across generations (which were frankly, terrifying) and the shifting notions of success. It simultaneously soothed me and unnerved me.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jamie Thunder

    Adult Fantasy isn't really aimed at me, I know. I'm about Briohny Doyle's age, but with little of the same circumstance. At 30 I had a secure, well-paid job and a house, whereas she was still searching for a way to make a living in between scraping by in various entry-level jobs. That's not to say hers is an uncommon situation. Young people in western countries are often stuck in precarious (and expensive) housing, while in precarious (and low-paid) jobs. This understandably has an impact on othe Adult Fantasy isn't really aimed at me, I know. I'm about Briohny Doyle's age, but with little of the same circumstance. At 30 I had a secure, well-paid job and a house, whereas she was still searching for a way to make a living in between scraping by in various entry-level jobs. That's not to say hers is an uncommon situation. Young people in western countries are often stuck in precarious (and expensive) housing, while in precarious (and low-paid) jobs. This understandably has an impact on other formerly common milestones such as children or marriage. It's no surprise that 'adulting' has entered the dictionary; simply reaching your late-20s no longer brings the sort of predictable and safe security that is used to, so 'being an adult' is no longer something automatic but something you have to work at. Doyle's interest is in how the 'adult fantasy' (great phrase) is created, and what its impossibility for many people means for society. These are real problems, and Doyle's writing is enjoyably breezy. But while it's easy to skip through, nodding in recognition, beware: that skippy breeziness masks a frustrating lack of rigour in either her research or her thinking that constantly threatens to bring the whole structure down. Take capitalism. This appears in a number of guises, from 'neo-liberal' to 'patriarchal capitalism', to 'late capitalism'. It's clearly intended to invoke a feeling of anger and appeal to a notion of unfairness. But exactly what she means by it remains fuzzy. While it would be unfair to expect this book to provide a detailed definition of a complex social system, it would inspire a bit more confidence if it was clear that its author had a solid grasp of what she meant beyond 'something bad'. That's not the only slackness. The idea of a Universal Basic Income is explored for a little less than two pages, with the confident conclusion that it would recognise that people have worth outside of their relationship to work (it reappears in the final chapter as a solution, as well, to the problem of un- or underemployed older workers). The idea that it might be a disincentive to work is lightly dismissed, while other counterarguments such as that it breaks any notion of a reciprocal social contract between a person and a state are simply never mentioned. Clearly Doyle wants to support a Universal Basic Income - which, while I'm more skeptical, is fine. But she doesn't earn the right to propose it. Then there are some parts that are just incoherent. At one point, within the space of a few paragraphs, Doyle goes from lamenting the end of the length-of-service-based career to bemoaning the fact that young people generally earn less. Quite how young people would be better-paid in a world where salary is explicitly tied to length of time in the workforce is, as you may by this point expect, not discussed. I could, but won't, go on. It's all very frustrating. The problems Doyle points out are real, and she writes well and persuasively. And while her political instincts are a bit different from mine, there is force to a lot of the points she makes. But it's all written as if you already agree on the analysis and the solution. And the problem there, if you really want to change things, is that a lot of people don't. Ultimately the problem is that Adult Fantasy is trying to do too much. It's a much better memoir than a manifesto, and there's the beginning of a fascinating pop-sociology book about the origins of marriage, home ownership, and having children as the markers of adulthood. But by trying to do all three in one reasonably short volume, it just disappoints.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Erika

    A thousand times yes! To be totally Gen Y about it, this book is my spirit animal. It takes all my muddled thoughts on growing up, "adulthood", "direction", life, career, friendships and relationships and family, and explores these ideas pragmatically. It inspects and interrogates the conventions of the weird process of growing up and tells an interesting, conversational tale as it does. It's not a memoir, but a thoughtful reflection of the ideas we all have about adulthood (I mean to say - the A thousand times yes! To be totally Gen Y about it, this book is my spirit animal. It takes all my muddled thoughts on growing up, "adulthood", "direction", life, career, friendships and relationships and family, and explores these ideas pragmatically. It inspects and interrogates the conventions of the weird process of growing up and tells an interesting, conversational tale as it does. It's not a memoir, but a thoughtful reflection of the ideas we all have about adulthood (I mean to say - the many and varied ideas about adulthood that different people have). It includes an impressive selection of interviews of interesting people as well as an academic look at things - the author's academic background gives this book a beautiful tone, and her ability to scrutinise her personal experiences is gold. It may surprise the author, but her personal experiences are even a little bit inspiring. I can't speak for older people, but it seems like the exploration of both her and her parents' personal experiences would open the book's audience to people of all ages. This book could bridge the occasionally toxic gap between the generations, or at least provide some morsels to encourage understanding of the challenges of adulthood in this time. The book does not purport to give answers, but raise questions, and challenge us. One that I will continue to muse on for some time.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Wendy

    Briohny Doyle: brilliantly articulate in her clear-eyed gaze of life in the 21st century. This is a masterful and very humane exposition of life. Every young person and every old person would benefit from reading this book. Young people, because it shows that no one is alone in their bewilderment at how to live a connected and mature life, in a world of student debt, unaffordable housing, and an insecure job market. How do you live in a way not prescribed by a normative and bounded worldview? Wha Briohny Doyle: brilliantly articulate in her clear-eyed gaze of life in the 21st century. This is a masterful and very humane exposition of life. Every young person and every old person would benefit from reading this book. Young people, because it shows that no one is alone in their bewilderment at how to live a connected and mature life, in a world of student debt, unaffordable housing, and an insecure job market. How do you live in a way not prescribed by a normative and bounded worldview? What does it mean to be an adult? And for elders, a recognition of how life is always contingent and the world of today has a level of uncertainty and dysfunction hard to navigate, whatever your generation. I had an "aha" moment when I realized that my post-university view of the world in 1973 was in no way comparable to the post-university view of the world in 2017 when you have a $60,000 student debt. How do you move forward to save for a "forever home" when you are in an entry-level job (if you are lucky) and are paying exorbitant rent and repaying student debt? What a compassionate voice. What an honest journey. I LOVED this book, it broke my heart and it also lifted me. Like life. It is REAL.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sam Van

    Briohny Doyle asks, "How do you structure an adult life that resists normative definition without finding yourself shut out in the cold?". She asks this in part because she feels her life doesn't fit the expected pattern of adult milestones, but also because for today's new adults these milestones are shifting and no longer apply as they once did. This book made me feel so seen, and I think this is why it's such a hit with people around my age (having just turned thirty, as is the catalyst for D Briohny Doyle asks, "How do you structure an adult life that resists normative definition without finding yourself shut out in the cold?". She asks this in part because she feels her life doesn't fit the expected pattern of adult milestones, but also because for today's new adults these milestones are shifting and no longer apply as they once did. This book made me feel so seen, and I think this is why it's such a hit with people around my age (having just turned thirty, as is the catalyst for Doyle's own thinking on 'adulthood'). This book's thoughts on the pettiness of 'intergenerational sledging' made me feel a bit more kindly toward Boomers (an unexpected outcome!), and I feel like this would be a great tool in such a sledging match in order to find some common ground. More nuanced takes on the difficulties faced by both sides (as this most certainly is, and Doyle's depiction of her relationship with her father is touching) are what's needed going forward in this silly opposition. Doyle interweaves memoir and research throughout - and what an incredible amount of research has gone into this! At times a little too much is fit into a single thought or topic, but what comes across clearly is that Doyle's thesis is more than just a hunch - adulthood is changing.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    This is an intelligent and insightful read about what it really means to be an adult in today's world. Doyle has done a load of research into everything from property to relationships to parenthood to old age. I want my parents to read it just so I can point to certain parts and say "See! I'm not the only one who thinks like this!" because Doyle articulates it better than I ever could. But at the same time, I appreciate the way she argues against the us vs. them mentality we all have when it com This is an intelligent and insightful read about what it really means to be an adult in today's world. Doyle has done a load of research into everything from property to relationships to parenthood to old age. I want my parents to read it just so I can point to certain parts and say "See! I'm not the only one who thinks like this!" because Doyle articulates it better than I ever could. But at the same time, I appreciate the way she argues against the us vs. them mentality we all have when it comes to millennials and baby boomers. Doyle spends a lot of time looking at how things like property ownership, job redundancies and single life affect people once they reach retirement age, and I found it pretty eye-opening. Definitely worth reading, especially if you're anxious about reaching certain adult milestones.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Peter Greenwell

    You can view this book in two different ways. One: as a work of a disaffected millennial who overthinks everything, or two: a poignant tract of non-conformism by a young woman who alternately (that's in "alternate") sees herself as a square peg in a societal round hole and then feels a need to adapt to the harsh, mutable world she's part of. That's this book's major problem. The author doesn't know exactly what she wants this treatise to be - an autobiography? A guidebook for millennials? A bunch You can view this book in two different ways. One: as a work of a disaffected millennial who overthinks everything, or two: a poignant tract of non-conformism by a young woman who alternately (that's in "alternate") sees herself as a square peg in a societal round hole and then feels a need to adapt to the harsh, mutable world she's part of. That's this book's major problem. The author doesn't know exactly what she wants this treatise to be - an autobiography? A guidebook for millennials? A bunch of hand-wringing? It's all of this and more, and while it's an entertaining work presented in lively, crisp language, the actual message is a turgid muddle. Maybe that's the point, I don't know.

  23. 4 out of 5

    MPG2017

    A rather relatable book for anyone who's ever found themselves to be society misfits, spiritually confused and unfulfilled, and unable to reach traditional adult milestones. Full of warmth, quirk, interesting personal anecdotes and self-deprecating humour. However, at times, the author's arguments feel contrived, desperate and self-serving, as though she were grasping at straws to justify her existence, trying desperately to convince herself that it isn't she that's the failure, it's society whi A rather relatable book for anyone who's ever found themselves to be society misfits, spiritually confused and unfulfilled, and unable to reach traditional adult milestones. Full of warmth, quirk, interesting personal anecdotes and self-deprecating humour. However, at times, the author's arguments feel contrived, desperate and self-serving, as though she were grasping at straws to justify her existence, trying desperately to convince herself that it isn't she that's the failure, it's society which has failed her i.e. it does seem at times, that if she were to take responsibility for own actions, she would crumble under the weight of her own choices, and so, as a means of sanity and self-preservation, she has to blame external forces for her frustrations.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Gee

    Insightful and so engaging. I don't know whether I am a young adult or an emerging adult or a failing adult. I don't think it matters, and I think this book does such a good job of probing and pushing against the structures that define 'adult' as a set of universally determined expectations and milestones. I love the memoir & personal aspects of this text and how it weaves through the theory and the statistics and says 'yes, I know that these choices and this lifestyle are what adult supposedly Insightful and so engaging. I don't know whether I am a young adult or an emerging adult or a failing adult. I don't think it matters, and I think this book does such a good job of probing and pushing against the structures that define 'adult' as a set of universally determined expectations and milestones. I love the memoir & personal aspects of this text and how it weaves through the theory and the statistics and says 'yes, I know that these choices and this lifestyle are what adult supposedly is, but I am adult and I am not this.' It's so interesting to think of humans as a whole evolving and the way in which we organise our living and our lives. We try so hard to get the things we're told to want. What do we want?

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jules

    If someone had emailed me a link to these chapters published online as separate essays, I would have read them and enjoyed them. But this is a book, and my standards for print publications are different. I am exactly the demographic Adult Fantasy is written about and for, but I didn’t connect to it. Maybe if you’re a total normie living in the outer burbs and feeling a bit stifled by convention you’d get something out of it, but in my inner city bubble we have well and truly moved on from the ma If someone had emailed me a link to these chapters published online as separate essays, I would have read them and enjoyed them. But this is a book, and my standards for print publications are different. I am exactly the demographic Adult Fantasy is written about and for, but I didn’t connect to it. Maybe if you’re a total normie living in the outer burbs and feeling a bit stifled by convention you’d get something out of it, but in my inner city bubble we have well and truly moved on from the marriage/mortgage/babies trifecta as being something to aim for or fight against. Get married, don’t get married, who cares?

  26. 5 out of 5

    Holly McArthur

    Briohny Doyle examines how the concept of adulthood has changed over time, from baby boomers to millennials. This book takes a critical look at the 'markers' of adulthood: marriage, financial freedom, a successful career, progeny and property ownership. Are these things still relevant and attainable for the majority of today's adults? A highly relevant read for those facing the final years of their twenties. Thought provoking, moving and laugh out loud funny. Adulthood is definitely not one size Briohny Doyle examines how the concept of adulthood has changed over time, from baby boomers to millennials. This book takes a critical look at the 'markers' of adulthood: marriage, financial freedom, a successful career, progeny and property ownership. Are these things still relevant and attainable for the majority of today's adults? A highly relevant read for those facing the final years of their twenties. Thought provoking, moving and laugh out loud funny. Adulthood is definitely not one size fits all.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Steph

    Briohny Doyle is like us but smarter. In this book she manages to clearly articulate so many things about adulthood and identity and responsibility that I, as a Gen Y Australian, have felt and wrestled with and stumbled over in trying to explain. Rather than trying to ever explain it again, I’m tempted to just carry this book around and when a Baby Boomer starts whining about “lazy young people” or a fellow millennial is stressing about how they don’t feel responsible enough yet to become a pare Briohny Doyle is like us but smarter. In this book she manages to clearly articulate so many things about adulthood and identity and responsibility that I, as a Gen Y Australian, have felt and wrestled with and stumbled over in trying to explain. Rather than trying to ever explain it again, I’m tempted to just carry this book around and when a Baby Boomer starts whining about “lazy young people” or a fellow millennial is stressing about how they don’t feel responsible enough yet to become a parent, I could just hand the book over and say: “look, it’s like this”. The last chapter is a 21st century millennial manifesto and it’s excellent.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Monique

    I couldn't relate to all of this but the bits I could I found insightful. I appreciate her attempts to locate herself (from the very first page) and acknowledge where she was speaking from as a middle class straight white cis woman. If she hadn't this book would have suffered greatly. It did annoy me that it took getting to the last few pages of a 300 page book for her to even mention neoliberalism and its dehumanising effects, almost as an afterthought. I couldn't relate to all of this but the bits I could I found insightful. I appreciate her attempts to locate herself (from the very first page) and acknowledge where she was speaking from as a middle class straight white cis woman. If she hadn't this book would have suffered greatly. It did annoy me that it took getting to the last few pages of a 300 page book for her to even mention neoliberalism and its dehumanising effects, almost as an afterthought.

  29. 5 out of 5

    CuteBadger

    I received this as a Goodreads Giveaway. The book is part autobiography and part sociological consideration of what it means to be an adult in the current age. I'm far from being the age group of the author and don't have children of that age so I couldn't find a way in to the book. I enjoyed the autobiographical sections more than the general theorising, but ultimately didn't find it interesting enough to finish. I received this as a Goodreads Giveaway. The book is part autobiography and part sociological consideration of what it means to be an adult in the current age. I'm far from being the age group of the author and don't have children of that age so I couldn't find a way in to the book. I enjoyed the autobiographical sections more than the general theorising, but ultimately didn't find it interesting enough to finish.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ellie

    This is so well written and researched, with the author’s personal journey woven in seamlessly and effectively. Doyle speaks very specifically to my own anxieties and preoccupations at this point in my life (approaching 30 - the milestone she’s facing at the book’s outset), but she also makes powerful observations about broader societal understandings of adulthood and how these impact people across all stages of life. I really loved this and highly recommend.

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