Adult Assembly Required by Abbi Waxman
“Dude, the inside of my head is such a circus I need my environment to be Zen.”
Adult Assembly Required by Abbi Waxman is a raucous fictional account of Laura Costello’s new life in Las Angeles, who through a serious of events ends up living with and being part of a community of unique and quirky people. Laura’s family upbringing in New York City and experiences from childhood have colored her perceptions and expectations of herself. But, after a devestating car accident, from which she was lucky to be alive, left her with physical and mental injuries to overcome, Laura decides to move across the country to attend physical therapy grad school. Bob has all the physical attributes that attracts the ladies but growing up in a household of all older women Bob finds himself frequently at loss for words, or worse rambling on incoherently, when in social situations. He retreats into his love for plants, gardens, and sports until he meets Laura, whom he is drawn to on so many levels. They quickly develop a budding friendship but their own issues seem to keep getting in the way of a blossoming relationship.
“It’s hard to love yourself while simultaneously striving to become the best you can be, which implies your current version could use some work. Laura couldn’t decide what was worse – the mental contortions needed to balance these competing self-images or the emotional pretzel required to feel happy about it.”
If you have never read an Abbi Waxman book you need to! Adult Assembly Required follows her eclectic style of writing that you really need to experience to understand. The best analogy I have is like getting one of those Christmas or Birthday presents that is both a serious and gag gift. The kind where you start with a large wrapped box in one kind of paper, which you unwrap to find another wrapped box in a different paper. As you keep unwrapping different sizes and packages of boxes you either find random objects, like rocks or bricks to add weight, or more boxes, until you finally reach a smaller velvet covered box that contains gorgeous gem encrusted jewelry. This is an Abbi Waxman book! She writes with a wonderfully irreverant style that is somewhat like reading an episode of Sienfeld. There are so many random, everyday events and interactions presented in such an entertaining way that you will frequently and sporadically burst into giggles.
Nina’s soda arrived. “You don’t literally handle everything alone, thought, right? You wouldn’t operate on your own burst appendix or install your own linoleum.” Laura shook her head. “Right, so why is it more grown up to handle your own emotional and mental health? There are experts for that.”
But, in Adult Assembly Required all this humor is intertwined with a sober and concerted exploration of dealing with the scars of our past as we try to become the best and happiest human we can be. Abbi deftly incorporates serious issues and struggles in a way that normalizes the difficulty in dealing with them but that also clearly conveys the way to move towards healing, recovery, and restoration. This really isn’t just Laura’s story but the story of a half dozen other characters, who you are also given insight into their thoughts and feelings. Most authors’ can’t pull off having so many character perspectives, intertwining plots, random events, and a serious message. They usually end up either jumbling the plot or totally confusing their reader. Abbi, on the other hand wields her pen like an artist, who takes a wild assortment of random tiles to create a stunning mosaic, as she creates the story of Adult Assembly Required. Don’t miss out on this great book!
Tanya’s love for books has been a lifelong passion that she likes sharing with others. Reading is also the thing that relaxes her after a day of juggling the many responsibilities that come with being being wife to an amazing man, mother to four great kids spread around the world, business manager, and farm hand on their place in southwest Missouri; home to Akaushi cattle and a menagerie of pygmy goats, horses, chickens, dogs and cats.