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Book Review: How to Grow Up by Michelle Tea

Updated on January 11, 2015
Confidence in who you are is the message from Michelle Tea
Confidence in who you are is the message from Michelle Tea

I think Michelle Tea and I would probably be best friends. We're complete opposites but our views on life seem to be the same. Maybe it's a kindred link to the past.

While I "grew up" and entered the adult world at the ripe old age of 20 (or was it 21?) I could relate to what Tea was writing about. Her first observation asks if you glided into adulthood with all of the grace of a swan and she wants to know who you are.

Really, I don't think any of us have grown up since we're like a bunch of kids who lead adult lives. But, while a majority of us were thinking we had grown up, Tea was doing just the opposite. She was living life. A life that I'm sure we would envy, yet stay far, far away from it.

She's worked minimum wage jobs, had relationships with both men and women, traveled the world, tried to get pregnant but above all, she's an addict. Whether it was alcohol or drugs it fueled her soul.

When she writes of her teen years and being an outcast, it brought back memories of one of my older classmates. I don't think drugs were involved but she was the outcast and one of the nicest people I've ever known. Of course that was over thirty years ago and I've often wondered what became of her. I don't think she went through a lot of the same taunting as Tea, but she was talked and whispered about. Above all, she was a friend.

Throughout the book, I often found myself going back to the days when I really wasn't struggling (hey, I had a real adult job and when the opportunity arose I left to "find myself") so I think I'm having my midlife crisis whereas Tea has been settling down over the years.

By any means this is not a self help book, but a memoir about someone who, while struggling, managed to reap the benefits she went after. It really is a look at yourself too.

While I'm not a religious person, I do believe in a higher power, as does Tea. She named her higher power after Stevie Nicks and prays to her. Why not? If it gets you through another day then go for it!

On the downside, I wish she would have told us a little more about certain things that happened in her life. I had hoped that she would have expanded on her teen years further so that young kids would know that they weren't alone in this big bad world. There are brief scenarios but I never found a straight line to connect the dots.

I found her words and beliefs to be quite powerful so maybe that's why I felt a little connected to what she was saying. I'm pretty sure that those of us who survived life before technology will relate and hopefully as your guide, maybe Tea's words will help you understand your purpose in life.


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