Book review: The Awkward Age By Francesca Segal

What happens when strangers are asked to live together as brother and sister?

Blended families are not such an unusual occurrence these days.

But even though it has become commonplace, it is no less fascinating to watch what happens when two different families collide and are forced to somehow begin all over again.

The Awkward Age follows the love story between widowed Julia and divorced James. This is a second chance for both of them, and they plan to spend the rest of their lives together.

But Julia is also a loving mum to teenage Gwen, who hates James’ son Nathan. The stepbrother just cannot help himself when it comes to antagonising his new sibling.

As the tensions rise, Julia and James struggle to adapt to their new life as a family. And then there is a twist to the tale, and writer Francesca Segal takes us off in a completely different emotional direction, throwing up a lot of moral dilemmas and a whole bunch of “coulda, shoulda, wouldas”.

The two teens pile on the pressure, and leave their parents struggling to cling on to their newfound happiness. This is a story about romantic love, and the love parents have for their children, but which one will win?

This was the second book I read as a member of the Mumsnet Book Club. I was absolutely blown away by The Awkward Age, it was such a beautiful and witty story, told through the eyes of fascinating characters.

The story is about relationships, both between parents and their children, as well as romantic entanglements and friendship.

I found that I could relate to both Julia and Gwen’s sides of the story, as both told very different tales of how cracks start to show in their own relationship as the story unfolds.

I found it particularly nerve-wracking as a mother of two young girls reading this, as I thought toddlers were hard enough work. When it comes to teenagers, it seems like I am going to have my work cut out for me!

However equally, I found myself feeling for drama queen Gwen, who feels cut out of her mother’s life since James arrived on the scene.

The story is chockablock with moral dilemmas and debates that can keep you mulling them over for hours. What would you do? Would taking a different path make things any easier, any different? Should you put your children first above all things, even your own future happiness? Even if they are being totally unreasonable?

This book kept me thinking until long after I had put it down.

Segal’s writing is simply stunning, giving insights into the tortured minds of her characters while also making you laugh out loud.

She beautifully weaves in the rest of Julia and James’ family, each bringing their own tales of romantic woe and adding colour to an already gripping story.

This is a part coming of age, and part coming of middle-age, tale. While the kids are grappling with their own issues, challenges and choices, the parents are trying to figure out what their role is now their kids are about to fly the nest.

A thoroughly funny, enjoyable and entertaining read. I can only hope my own kids will not hit the teenage years with quite so much drama!

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24 Comments

  1. May 2, 2018 / 8:31 am

    I’m in the teen years now – not sure I want to read about it…though that does sound tempting! #FortheloveofBLOG

  2. May 2, 2018 / 10:51 am

    Thanks for the review! Sounds like a book that requires a glass of wine to accompany it! Also dreading the teenage years too… #fortheloveofBLOG

  3. May 2, 2018 / 11:44 am

    Three girls over here – the thought of the teenage years makes me shudder!! Great review! #fortheloveofBLOG

  4. May 2, 2018 / 11:53 am

    Great review! Sounds like an interesting book! #fortheloveofblog

  5. May 2, 2018 / 12:36 pm

    Lovely review. It sounds like a fab book. Just the thought of the teenage years terrifies me right now! #fortheloveofblog

  6. May 2, 2018 / 12:47 pm

    Interesting idea. I’ll have a look at a sample chapter and see how I get on. Thank you. I love finding new books to read

  7. May 2, 2018 / 1:19 pm

    This sounds like a gripping read. What a subject to explore! It’s great you are part of a book group. I joined one for preschool parents last year and we meet once a month in the children’s library so our kids can play while we discuss what we’ve read. It has got me back into reading and really pushed me to read things I’d never have picked out myself. It’s so important to be a reading role model to kids in this digital age. #fortheloveoBLOG

  8. May 2, 2018 / 3:11 pm

    Ooh the book sounds interesting – I am a mum of a teen, and an almost tween (9yrs old). They’re both boys and both have their own dramas occasionally. I can’t imagine having more drama!

  9. May 2, 2018 / 3:15 pm

    This sounds like it could be such a great read for all modern families! Definitely going to check it out!
    #fortheloveofblog

  10. May 2, 2018 / 5:42 pm

    Sounds like a great read! I haven’t read any books about this subject so it’s nice to widen the horizon, I may well give it a go too

  11. May 2, 2018 / 9:25 pm

    Love this kind of book. Definitely interested In having a read! #fortheloveBLOG

  12. May 2, 2018 / 9:26 pm

    This sounds brilliant, not what I’d normally go for but with a little more information it sounds great #fortheloveofBLOG

  13. May 2, 2018 / 9:38 pm

    This sounds like a great book – I’m always looking for new book recommendations, so this is on my list now! #fortheloveofBLOG

  14. May 3, 2018 / 8:55 am

    With my daughter turning 12 this year – next year I will be entering the teenage phase. Another parent challenge I suppose. So this would be a great read for me #fortheloveofblog

  15. May 3, 2018 / 11:18 am

    Gosh I am terrified of the teen years. Sounds like an interesting book though I’ll download the sample onto my kindle! #fortheloveofblog

  16. May 3, 2018 / 11:26 am

    We’re so far from teenage years at the moment… I can only hope they’re less dramatic that this. Great review, thanks!

  17. May 3, 2018 / 5:12 pm

    The title made me wryly smile straightaway as I think I have been at an awkward age since I was born. As it goes, this book does appeal. I have teenagers but they are lovely thank goodness #fortheloveofblog

  18. May 3, 2018 / 5:55 pm

    Oh my my daughters only 1 and I’m already scared of the teen years #forthrloveofblog

  19. May 4, 2018 / 10:12 am

    Sounds like a good read – I’m going to see if its available as an audio book #fortheloveofBLOG

  20. May 4, 2018 / 12:40 pm

    Sounds like a great book, NOOO I am so not ready for the teenage years #fortheloveofBLOG

  21. May 4, 2018 / 7:39 pm

    This sounds like a great read. I wish I had more time to read these says, but with a 1 year old it’s tough! #fortheloveofBLOG

  22. May 9, 2018 / 9:06 pm

    This sounds like a real page-turner, but I’m not sure I could read it with my hands over my eyes! I’m not looking forward to two teenage girls…
    Best wishes, Jennie xx

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