Adultolescence by Gabbie Hanna
Published by Atria/Keywords Press on September 19, 2017
Neither the author nor the publisher requested this review.
Comedian Gabbie Hanna brings levity to the twists and turns of modern adulthood in this exhilarating debut collection of illustrated poetry.
In poems ranging from the singsong rhythms of children’s verses to a sophisticated confessional style, Gabbie explores what it means to feel like a kid and an adult all at once, revealing her own longings, obsessions, and insecurities along the way. Adultolescence announces the arrival of a brilliant new voice with a magical ability to connect through alienation, cut to the profound with internet slang, and detonate wickedly funny jokes between moments of existential dread. You’ll turn to the last page because you get her, and you’ll return to the first because she gets you.
So far, Adultolescence claims the travelling trophy for "Hardest Book to Review in 2018." There were parts that made me laugh and cry. There were parts that hit so close to home it was unreal. And then there was the grammar...ouch.
Now, don't get me wrong. I understand that this is a book of poetry and that poetry doesn't have to be formatted the same way as prose. HOWEVER I had a really hard time with all of the use of text speech. "rn" and "bc" really annoyed me after a while. The most frustrating part, though, was that the personal pronoun "I" was never capitalized. I understand that overall her abhorrent use of grammar and her lack of capitalization was an artistic choice. What I don't understand is how she can pen so many poems that talk about individuality and the importance of being yourself, but SHE DOESN'T FREAKING CAPITALIZE THE I. When I teach this concept to my students, I tell them that we capitalize it because they matter. I specifically make them say "I capitalize I because I matter." I want them to develop positive self-thoughts and to develop as independent individuals. How can someone who claims to do so ignore the capitalization here? Alternatively, how am I that anal? (I'm curious, tell me in the comments...)
This book is chock full of comical moments. The illustrations are delightful and truly do a terrific job of sending home Hanna's messages. There are a variety of overarching themes, and I believe that all of them would be beneficial to high school students. I am not sure that I would choose to buy it for my classroom library, mainly because curse words are common and there is talk of getting drunk and hangovers. In my school, these are not community standard.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. I think Hanna intended it more for college students, but I most definitely believe that high school students will be able to relate to parts of it as well.