The Lying Life of Adults by Elena Ferrante

I bought The Lying Life of Adults by Elena Ferrante with my birthday money a few months ago, because I loved her Neopolitan Quartet. The Lying Life of Adults has a lot in common with the Neopolitan Quartet – My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, and The Story of the Lost Child. The main character, Giovanna, is like a cross between the two main characters in the Neopolitan Quartet – Lenu and Lila – and the story is also set in Naples.

The Lying Life of Adults is the story of Giovanna from childhood through adolescence up to the age of 16. As a child, she studies hard and adores her parents. But then she overhears her father say she is becoming ugly. From there, she becomes rebellious and questions everything she thought she knew about herself and her parents. Her grades start to slip and she begins to withdraw from her parents.

Giovanna develops an obsession with her aunt, Vittoria, who has always been a secret. Vittoria and Giovanna’s father had fallen out, but Giovanna wants to build a relationship with her. Her aunt and the people around her are very different from Giovanna’s rather serious family and she starts to spend more time with them, rejecting her boring home life.

The Lying Life of Adults is a slow burning coming-of-age story, set in the early 90s. For me, it took a while before I knew what was going on. There are some seedy sexual encounters and a running theme of a bracelet which seems to pass through the ownership of most of the main characters in the book.

Is The Lying Life of Adults an easy read? No. Did I enjoy it? Yes. Is it as good as the Neopolitan Quartet? For me, not quite.

If you enjoy a literary novel, I would recommend The Lying Life of Adults. But if you’re looking for a page turner or an easy read, this is probably best avoided.

The Lying Life of Adults, The Lying Life of Adults by Elena Ferrante, Elena Ferrante, Book review

Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. Hmmm, not sure what to make of this one, as to whether it is for me or not, but as I have such a long TBR list already, perhaps I will skip. It does sound good though

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    • I think that’s quite wise if you already have a long TBR list. I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t the easiest read and I don’t think it would be everyone’s cup of tea.

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  2. Thanks so much for your honest review. I am glad you liked this book. I’m not into literary fiction though, so this wouldn’t be the book for me. #BookwormsMonthly

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    • That’s understandable! We all have our genres we like and others we’re not so keen on. That’s the great thing about reading, there’s something for everyone!

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