cover image There Are No Grown-Ups: A Midlife Coming-of-Age Story

There Are No Grown-Ups: A Midlife Coming-of-Age Story

Pamela Druckerman. Penguin Press, $27 (288p) ISBN 978-1-59420-637-5

Druckerman (Bringing Up BéBé) tackles the subject of entering her 40s in this amusing essay collection, with all 25 chapters cleverly entitled “How to” (e.g., “How to Be Jung,” “How to Have a Midlife Crisis”). Druckerman, who has lived in Paris for 12 years with her British journalist husband (and their three kids), opens by painting a colorful picture of her Miami childhood, where she was raised by positive-thinking, “incompatible” Jewish parents. She then shifts to life in France, including the chapter “How to Plan a Ménàge a Trois” (originally in Marie Claire) about the threesome she gave her husband when he turned 40. Druckerman claims 40 is when Parisians began calling her madame instead of mademoiselle, and when she realized she could no longer sport a youthful wardrobe (blazers and navy blue are now de rigueur, say French fashion rules). Though Druckerman is diagnosed with and treated for cancer in the course of her story, her tone remains predominantly light (“You know you’re in your forties when... you watch The Graduate, [and] you identify with the parents”). Druckerman’s vision of aging is far from sugarcoated, and by the witty book’s end she’s matured into her role as a grown-up, making the 40s seem not so awful after all. (May)