Bad Readers Reviews: "Less" And How We Face Adulthood And Aging

Bad Readers Reviews: "Less" And How We Face Adulthood And Aging

Laugh, cry, swoon, and think, "Yeah.... I get that."

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Like all of the books that have defined my adult summers (re: '16, '17, '18), I read "Less" by Andrew Sean Greer on the train to New York. And like the two books before it, "Less" touched on something in me I wasn't fully ready to explore yet. In this specific instance: adulthood and how we humans face growing older.

When I was fifteen, I had a blog (a mild failure; don't ask) and I clearly remember wanting to write a piece titled, "On Growing Up and Sucking More" because, at fifteen, I thought that was brilliant. But the problem that derailed this ingenious plan was the fact that I had no idea what to say. What does a fifteen-year-old with a relatively safe and secure childhood know about growing up? Learning Santa Clause wasn't real? Getting that first shitty period or growing boobs and feeling self-conscious? Having to think about college and begin to conceptualize "the rest of your life"?

Essentially, nothing.

Wanting to be older was as much a cornerstone of my childhood as the scent of my grapefruit Neutrogena acne scrub was and just as nostalgic in memory. Now, as a rising junior who violently shudders whenever an adult asks me how it feels to be halfway done with college, I want to be younger so badly. Sure, the freedom is fun and being able to vote and drive is a definite plus, but now I'm An Adult™️ and I have to make Decisions™️ all the time and Plan For a Career™️ and that stuff is Scary to Do™️.

So it's encouraging in the most depraved kind of way that the titular character of "Less" feels much the same way I do at twenty as he approaches and reaches his fiftieth birthday. Unlike Jennifer Aniston, we don't all age with grace and incredible beauty. Growing older (notice how I'm not saying growing up? I am up. I am An Adult™️) is petrifying to everyone except John Mulaney's old queen alter ego. No one wants to look back on their life at any stage, especially when you're twenty and you know in your heart of hearts that the best years are ahead of you but damn, looking back…. Life used to be pretty good….

But "Less" answers the question: "What happens when we have to look back on our lives?" Because we all will at some point, and it won't be with a nostalgic longing for Annie's Mac and Cheese. It will be for what we consider to be the best days of our lives, the ones we don't know until they're past us. And that's scary as all hell.

So how do we cope? In Arthur Less's case, run away on a five-month journey across the world to escape a former boyfriend's wedding to someone else.

While the specifics of this coping mechanism are not universally applicable (if only we could all be semi-famous novelists with love affairs that are better known than our written works), what Less learns on his trip is: that we need to learn to be alone. "How did you get from Less's story," you might ask. "He's always around other people!" Ah yes, but it is only in his brief moments alone, in his reflections about being alone, that he truly finds what it means to age and, at fifty, be an adult.

Don't understand what I'm talking about? Read the book. The Pulitzer Board did.

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10 Things Someone Who Grew Up In A Private School Knows

The 10 things that every private school-goer knows all too well.

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1. Uniforms

Plaid. The one thing that every private school-goer knows all too well. It was made into jumpers, skirts, shorts, scouts, hair ties, basically anything you could imagine, the school plaid was made into. You had many different options on what to wear on a normal day, but you always dreaded dress uniform day because of skirts and ballet flats. But it made waking up late for school a whole lot easier.

2. New people were a big deal

New people weren't a big thing. Maybe one or two a year to a grade, but after freshman year no one new really showed up, making the new kid a big deal.

3. You've been to school with most of your class since Kindergarten


Most of your graduating class has been together since Kindergarten, maybe even preschool, if your school has it. They've become part of your family, and you can honestly say you've grown up with your best friends.

4. You've had the same teachers over and over

Having the same teacher two or three years in a row isn't a real surprise. They know what you are capable of and push you to do your best.

5. Everyone knows everybody. Especially everyone's business.

Your graduating class doesn't exceed 150. You know everyone in your grade and most likely everyone in the high school. Because of this, gossip spreads like wildfire. So everyone knows what's going on 10 minutes after it happens.

6. Your hair color was a big deal

If it's not a natural hair color, then forget about it. No dyeing your hair hot pink or blue or you could expect a phone call to your parents saying you have to get rid of it ASAP.

7. Your school isn't like "Gossip Girl"

There is no eating off campus for lunch or casually using your cell phone in class. Teachers are more strict and you can't skip class or just walk right off of campus.

8. Sports are a big deal

Your school is the best of the best at most sports. The teams normally go to the state championships. The rest of the school that doesn't play sports attends the games to cheer on the teams.

9. Boys had to be clean-shaven, and hair had to be cut

If you came to school and your hair was not cut or your beard was not shaved, you were written up and made to go in the bathroom and shave or have the head of discipline cut your hair. Basically, if you know you're getting written up for hair, it's best just to check out and go get a hair cut.

10. Free dress days were like a fashion show

Wearing a school uniform every day can really drive you mad. That free dress day once a month is what you lived for. It was basically a fashion show for everyone, except for those upperclassmen who were over everything and just wore sweat pants.

Cover Image Credit: Authors Photos

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To My Little Sister, Don't Wish For Time To Move Faster, Soak Up The Stage Of Life You're In

Live in the moment and you will come out having no regrets.

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To my best friend,

Time goes by quickly, do not wish it away. Enjoy living in the moment you are in right now because you will never get it back. Stop wishing you were in college already because you have so much to live for right now.

I know all you want to do is get away from home and start over, which is normal because I wanted to do the same thing at your age. But as your older sister, and as someone who has gone through that stage already, I am here to tell you that it is not all rainbows and sunshine 24/7.

With the time you have left in high school, enjoy every second of it because eventually, you will come to miss it.

Graduation is just around the corner for you and it honestly freaks me out how fast time is going. And it only goes faster in college. As kids, all we wanted was to be in high school and be able to drive on our own and once we hit high school, all we want is to be in college. With almost being in college for two years, I can easily say that all I want is to be a kid again. We have been wishing our whole lives away since we can remember. Enjoy today.

I see so much potential in you and I am beyond excited for what the future has in store for you.

Many times, you have been the one to give me advice even though I'm the older sister and this shows how caring and loving you are. Life is going to treat you so well and it already has.

There is one piece of advice I must give to you though. Make sure to thank mom and dad and tell them you love them as often as possible. I know they can get on your nerves and may make you angry at times, but they have given us the best life. You will learn in college just how much they love us and how much they have given up just to make us happy.

You have a good head on your shoulders and I know life is going to turn out to be exactly what you wanted. Just don't wish it all away. Some of my favorite times were when I was a senior in high school.

I'm always looking out for you so don't ever think you are alone in this crazy world. Remember, I am just one phone call away.

I love you so much sis, you got this.

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