In her thoughtful and well-paced evaluation of 'adulthood,' Schaefer explores the struggle today’s ascendant adults face in getting anywhere near these goals 'on time.' ... the book follows eight people struggling to make the leap to adulthood in some way, interspersing their stories with both research and self-reflection. The book’s true subject is ultimately the economy, and the ways in which widening income inequality, job insecurity, the end of unions, gig work, rising education costs and so forth are crushing even the people who are 'privileged enough to feel like they have options.'
For Americans currently nearing or already into their thirties, achieving major adult milestones has not been nearly so linear ... Schaefer situates stories from her sources with historical context, noting the structural inequality that underpinned many of the assumed stages of adulthood. While some may be left wondering how Schaefer sourced the individuals she follows through the book, and why she feels they are representative of a generational trend, her conversational writing style will draw in readers, especially those who enjoyed her previous book.
Combining memoir and case study, Schaefer examines why so many millennials have delayed, or failed to attain, the hallmarks of American adulthood: completing their education, purchasing a home, marrying, achieving financial independence, and having children ... While the author is aware of, and discusses, her relative privilege, she makes statements that require further examination ... The book would benefit from a closer examination of the ways in which these assessments hinge on socioeconomic and geographic assumptions. The author is more successful when describing her own life and those of the individuals and couples in her case studies. She connects their individual challenges and circumstances to the broader narrative about the difficulties millennials face when they reach adulthood ... This book will appeal to those who enjoy human interest stories and non-judgmental writing about the millennial generation.