A review by theespressoedition
Adult Assembly Required, by Abbi Waxman

funny inspiring lighthearted medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


Typically, I wait a few days before writing a review after I've finished reading a book. However, I'm making an exception for Adult Assembly Required because I loved this book so much I couldn't wait longer than five minutes before putting my thoughts into words.

First of all, Abbi Waxman never fails me. I have absolutely adored every book I've read by her so far (and I only have one left to catch up on from her backlist). This is a feat that not many other authors have been able to accomplish - yes, even my favorites. So thank you, Abbi, for always knowing exactly what to write. Your books feel like a giant hug or comforting mug of tea or something else equally cozy and heartwarming.

While Laura may be portrayed as the protagonist of this book, I'd vouch that there is no true "main character" and that's what makes this book so lovely. Unlike so many other books that follow just one person per chapter, Adult Assembly Required was like standing in the middle of a room filled with people and being able to hear all of their thoughts at once. Okay, terrible example because that sounds like an awful experience. I'm trying to say something good here!

The book is written in the third person, but no singular individual is the focus of any chapter. Instead, at any given moment, you have the chance to understand what's going on from Maggie's perspective, or Polly's, or even Bob's, and it's lovely. It provides a really atmospheric feeling to the entire book and makes you feel like you're just one of the many members of the household. Rather than reading about lounging by the pool, I was dipping my toes in as well. Instead of just reading about a car ride, I was in the passenger seat. It was so immersive and unique and I loved every minute of it.

In addition to the creative method of storytelling, I loved that we were able to sneak a peek into the lives of characters from Abbi's other books! Oh, how this made my heart jump for joy. Whether it was the first moment of hearing the name "Impossibly Handsome Bob" again or witnessing Nina in passionate fact-vomiting mode or even hilariously outspoken Claire introducing herself for the first time, it just made me feel the warm fuzzies all over. This wonderful cast is so precious and no matter who you are, you'll find yourself relating to at least someone!

Of course, as always, I appreciated the wonderful representation of anxiety and how it was navigated.
While it was super frustrating to hear the way that the people in Laura's previous life talked about her, belittled her, gaslighted her, and generally made her feel as though she wasn't worthy of feeling her feelings, I was grateful for how other stood up for her and helped her get to a better place. Everyone had their own struggles throughout the book, whether it was social anxiety, alcoholism, estranged relationships, or something else - they were, each and every one of them, so real and relatable. The camaraderie in the house and the support of each person was so special and made me tear up while laughing aloud. The best combination, if you ask me!

I could truly go on forever about how sweet this book. Do yourself a favor and give it a read!

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