Book Review: Adultescence


Adultescence, P. D. Walter. 171 pgs,, $14.99

Adultescence is something like a television script treatment for a series resembling a cross between Seinfeld and Reality Bites. It’s set in a mid-sized city with a small group of millennials drifting and figuring out what to do with their lives. A fortuitous twist leads the protagonist, Nathe Baruwal, to strike a questionable Hollywood deal based on a fan fiction script he writes as a response to The Marvellous Mulberry, an action film reboot spawned much like George Lucas’ The Phantom Menace. There’s money to be made, but it’s no bonus to him — his debts have been piling up, and his histrionic mom wants her house back.

Around this sole plot thread we witness Nathe’s pals act out an amusing portrait of millennial ennui. Some character tension is provoked by one of the group’s female friends named Clarke, an activist who seems unable to accept her geek friends’ insular mindset and their uninspiring life. In fact, she could easily blurt out the same complaint as Elaine once did on Seinfeld: “I can’t spend the rest of my life coming into this stinking apartment every ten minutes to pore over the excruciating minutia of every single daily event.”

P.D. Walter writes engaging and sometimes witty prose, and sketches out some charming characters. Still it’s not clear where the plot is meant to go or what the author is trying to say. The reader is therefore pressed to speculate from the title and interpret the author’s themes and messages: Do millennial males suffer in a phantom zone of cultural fragmentation and/or arrested development? Is there a straight male millennial geek vulnerability that seeks emancipation? Are pop culture fans just slaves to big budget studios? Hopefully the full-length forthcoming Twilight of the Adults, from which this book is excerpted, might fill us in and deliver according to its title. (Marc Tremblay)


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