Thursday 26 November 2020

Loner | Georgina Young #AWW


Oh, the existential angst!
Remember when you were 22 and you had no idea what you wanted to do or how you fitted into the big, wide world and it all seemed overwhelming, sometimes exciting, but mostly this big, huge, void of trying to be an adult, that you had no idea how to fill.

This is the story that Georgina Young has crafted in Loner. The title is a subtle play on our protagonist's name, Lona, and also sums up her beliefs about herself.

What I really liked about this story, is that Lona didn't have a big ah-ha moment or major crisis that suddenly dropped her into the adult world. It was far more real than that. Lona made some errors of judgement, nothing drastic, said no when she probably should have said yes, said yes when she probably should have said no, bumbled her way through moving out of home, caring for her sick grandfather, going out on dates, dropping out of uni because the art classes were leaving her feeling dead inside, alienating her best friend and working a couple of shit jobs.

Lona's voice was authentic and endearing, yet she was aimless, insecure and full of so much uncertainty that it made my heart ache!

One of my younger colleagues (closer in age to Lona than myself) also had a strong reaction to reading this book. She felt that she was still in the middle of Lona's angst, struggling to find meaning and purpose and confused about what it takes to become a fully fledged adult. 

I think we do ourselves (and our young people) a huge disservice, by not talking more about the journey we all go on to become an adult. It's not something that happens overnight on a certain birthday. Or when you move out of home for the first time, or get your first full-time job, or buy your first car. In fact, it's a lifelong journey that evolves with every decade and with each life experience. 

Having said that, though, there does seem to be a point in most people's mid-to-late twenties where things start to click into place. Maybe it's when you finally realise that this whole adulting thing is a lifelong journey after all and you finally feel significantly different to how you felt at 18 or 19 or 20. Or perhaps it's when everything stops being a 'first'.

Lona at 22 isn't there yet. Like the rest of us, she experienced no miraculous revelation or epiphany. There was no big character change or psychological growth. She didn't suddenly 'come of age' or work everything out. Lona simply clocked up some more life experience.



  1. I don't think I will read it - too old ? remembering my own weaknesses and incertitudes ? - but it looks very good anyway. Great review :) I will recommend it to my daughters.

  2. Never forget or regret the day I packed my bags and left USA
    ...the start of my journey!
    Great review that forces me to look back at life changing decisions
    I took rather lightly! I guess you have make changes when one is young...I never thought about healthcare or a pension in The Netherlands, just hopped on the boat (SS Rotterdam) ....and set sail! Happy Thanksgiving...still in USA state of mind!

    1. With 2 young adults in my life (plus their friends) I am daily reminded of the angst and the lack of long-term planning that the age encompasses. They are so caught up in being young right now, they cannot fathom that one day they will be old, or even older, with different needs or concerns.

      They often express fascination about us when we were young, but I suspect that they think we were exactly the same as we are now, just younger :-D

    2. There were many road blocks ahead of me in a strange, new country.
      Language,my education had to be repeated to achieve certified school diplomas here...or I had NO chance of a job. Hard work, new marriage, homesickness....but I survived.
      I'm glad my mother NEVER said one word as to her trepidations for my new life. She was always there to support me and that is all a parent can do.

  3. I have a love/hate sort of thing with this sort of adultescent theme. At 22 I was working full time, married and pregnant having left home to go to university when I was 18. However my 24 year old daughter still lives at home, is content with what is technically a casual job (though better paid than my full time one back then) and hasn’t had a serious relationship. I craved independence and look at her and wonder if I was ever that young sometimes :)

    1. I do know what you mean Shelley. I also left home at 18 for uni, and except for uni breaks and a year overseas when I was 23, I've been out on my own, working. But I had 3 younger siblings and I clashed with my mum quite a bit, so I was very motivated to leave home as soon as I could, simply to finally get a bedroom to myself!
      But I had a lot of insecurity and doubt about everything. Even though Mr Books and I were dating back then, I certainly didn't want to marry him at that point. I wanted to travel and I was prepared to move anywhere to get a good teaching job. Freedom was my mantra back then and financial independence, but most of it was bravado. Still don't quite know how I had the courage to board a plane to London saying goodbye to Mr Books for what I thought would be forever, to go an have my overseas adventure. But I'm so grateful I did. But I remember some of the girls I was at uni with, they were just as aimless and directionless and lacking in any desire to be independent and fend for themselves as many of the young I see now. I sometimes wonder if birth order has a factor to play. As the eldest the desire to flee a crowded nest was very strong. The youngest have a much cushier nest; why would they leave it?
      This book brought all of that and much more back for me!


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