By Scott Simon
Author and bookstore owner Emma Straub’s new novel reminds us how lives can change in an instant — not that we may need that reminder too much right now.
All Adults Here is a modern family saga of three generations thrown together, whether they like it or not — and a lot of the time, they don’t. It begins with a bang, when Astrid Strick sees a lifelong friend she’d never much liked get hit and killed by an empty, speeding school bus. And at the age of 68 she realizes — as she tells her children — that “there are always more school buses.”
“Really what it does is it makes Astrid, who’s the main character of the book, realize that there are a lot of things that she wishes she’d done differently as a parent,” Straub says. “And the book is really about how the choices we make and the mistakes we make stay with us for decades, if not forever … It’s a big, complicated family book. So it’s equal opportunity for choices and mistakes. They’re all doing things their family members would rather they do differently.”
On being an independent bookstore owner
… the book is really about how the choices we make and the mistakes we make stay with us for decades, if not forever.
You know, somewhat miraculously, business is actually pretty good. And that sense of community is absolutely buoying us right now. I will say that in the last three years, since we’ve opened the store and I’ve been writing this book, the thing that I think about the most is that sense of community, because the neighborhood where our bookstore is, and where we live is the neighborhood where I went to school, and my children go to the school that I went to. And so all day long, I see people from all these different periods of my life — my 10th grade poetry teacher, and my friend’s parents and a person I made out with in high school. And I you know, I see all these people every day.