Hot Best Seller

And Then We Grew Up: On Creativity, Potential, and the Imperfect Art of Adulthood

Availability: Ready to download

A journey through the many ways to live an artistic life--from the flashy and famous to the quiet and steady--full of unexpected insights about creativity and contentment, from the author of The Good Girl's Guide to Getting Lost. Rachel Friedman was a serious violist as a kid. She quit music in college but never stopped fantasizing about what her life might be like if she A journey through the many ways to live an artistic life--from the flashy and famous to the quiet and steady--full of unexpected insights about creativity and contentment, from the author of The Good Girl's Guide to Getting Lost. Rachel Friedman was a serious violist as a kid. She quit music in college but never stopped fantasizing about what her life might be like if she had never put down her bow. Years later, a freelance writer in New York, she again finds herself struggling with her fantasy of an artist's life versus its much more complicated reality. In search of answers, she decides to track down her childhood friends from Interlochen, a prestigious arts camp she attended, full of aspiring actors, artists, dancers, and musicians, to find out how their early creative ambitions have translated into adult careers, relationships, and identities. Rachel's conversations with these men and women spark nuanced revelations about creativity and being an artist: that it doesn't have to be all or nothing, that success isn't always linear, that sometimes it's okay to quit. And Then We Grew Up is for anyone who has given up a childhood dream and wondered "what-if?", for those who have aspired to do what they love and had doubts along the way, and for all whose careers fall somewhere between emerging and established. Warm, whip-smart, and insightful, it offers inspiration for finding creative fulfillment wherever we end up in life.


Compare

A journey through the many ways to live an artistic life--from the flashy and famous to the quiet and steady--full of unexpected insights about creativity and contentment, from the author of The Good Girl's Guide to Getting Lost. Rachel Friedman was a serious violist as a kid. She quit music in college but never stopped fantasizing about what her life might be like if she A journey through the many ways to live an artistic life--from the flashy and famous to the quiet and steady--full of unexpected insights about creativity and contentment, from the author of The Good Girl's Guide to Getting Lost. Rachel Friedman was a serious violist as a kid. She quit music in college but never stopped fantasizing about what her life might be like if she had never put down her bow. Years later, a freelance writer in New York, she again finds herself struggling with her fantasy of an artist's life versus its much more complicated reality. In search of answers, she decides to track down her childhood friends from Interlochen, a prestigious arts camp she attended, full of aspiring actors, artists, dancers, and musicians, to find out how their early creative ambitions have translated into adult careers, relationships, and identities. Rachel's conversations with these men and women spark nuanced revelations about creativity and being an artist: that it doesn't have to be all or nothing, that success isn't always linear, that sometimes it's okay to quit. And Then We Grew Up is for anyone who has given up a childhood dream and wondered "what-if?", for those who have aspired to do what they love and had doubts along the way, and for all whose careers fall somewhere between emerging and established. Warm, whip-smart, and insightful, it offers inspiration for finding creative fulfillment wherever we end up in life.

30 review for And Then We Grew Up: On Creativity, Potential, and the Imperfect Art of Adulthood

  1. 4 out of 5

    Julie Ehlers

    And Then We Grew Up has an interesting premise. Rachel Friedman was a gifted violist as a child and spent a few summers at the famous Interlochen arts camp in Michigan, where she was surrounded by other similarly gifted creative kids. In college, Friedman continued to pursue the viola until she inexplicably developed insurmountable anxiety around playing and quit. As an adult, she's pursued another creative field (writing) with the sort of mixed results (and financial insecurity) a lot of writer And Then We Grew Up has an interesting premise. Rachel Friedman was a gifted violist as a child and spent a few summers at the famous Interlochen arts camp in Michigan, where she was surrounded by other similarly gifted creative kids. In college, Friedman continued to pursue the viola until she inexplicably developed insurmountable anxiety around playing and quit. As an adult, she's pursued another creative field (writing) with the sort of mixed results (and financial insecurity) a lot of writers have, and she started to wonder (1) how to have a creative life amid so much pressure and precariousness and (2) how her classmates at Interlochen had managed it. She tracked down several of them, and the book is structured around various classmates, their creative struggles, and how those struggles embody larger issues with being creative in today's world. If I'm being honest, some aspects of this book were hard to relate to. These Interlochen students were encouraged in their creativity in a way many of us aren't, and the pressure they felt to keep being creative as adults, and to make a career of it, is the opposite of what a lot of us feel, which is the pressure to leave behind or back-burner our creativity in favor of more practical endeavors. In addition, this book was one of those pop-psychology books that I kind of can't stand, where a non-expert piggybacks on actual experts' research in a way that seems facile at best and I-got-a-book-contract-and-need-to-pad-this-thing-out at worst. This often made reading this book feel like homework. Nevertheless, it frequently was interesting to hear how the various Interlochen students approached creativity and incorporated it (or not) into their adult lives. There actually was a lot to think about regarding what creativity can and should mean to us as we get older and the realities of day-to-day life intrude on the dreams our younger selves once harbored. But again, it was more of an intellectual exercise than anything creatively inspired or inspiring. In fact, I only remember feeling inspired by this book once, when I read the following passage: Behind the cotton wool is hidden a pattern; that we—I mean all human beings—are connected with this; that the whole world is a work of art; that we are parts of the work of art. Hamlet or a Beethoven quartet is the truth about this vast mass that we call the world. But there is no Shakespeare, there is no Beethoven; certainly and emphatically there is no God; we are the words; we are the music; we are the thing itself. This is actually Rachel Friedman quoting Virginia Woolf in Moments of Being, and it made me wish I'd been reading that book instead of this one. I received an ARC of this book; thank you to the publisher.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Leah

    I could really relate to this book about missed potential, different paths, different fates, choices we've made that may have altered our paths, thinking about where our path is headed and if we've missed something on the way, constantly feeling bad for not pursuing a "dream" or a talent, wondering how life would have been different, feeling like a failure because I quit something. But realizing that everyone goes through this, especially ambitious people and dreamers. The only thing I couldn't I could really relate to this book about missed potential, different paths, different fates, choices we've made that may have altered our paths, thinking about where our path is headed and if we've missed something on the way, constantly feeling bad for not pursuing a "dream" or a talent, wondering how life would have been different, feeling like a failure because I quit something. But realizing that everyone goes through this, especially ambitious people and dreamers. The only thing I couldn't really relate to was about the arts path, I never really wanted to pursue art in a career path way other than acting. I feel like yea I missed out on acting potential but I can act anytime in my life and it's not over lol You look to your life how you're living it right now and ask yourself if this is the path you should be on and if it's yes accept that and go forward. Stop agonizing about what if's and fantasies because this is what you have chosen and if you really really want something different then just alter the course. I loved the part about how as children we're taught that we're so special and talented etc. but then when we grow up no one really cares lol and I think that's just part of adulting. It's about realizing you don't have to be special or gifted into something. Life can just be normal and mundane and relatable to the masses and that's not a problem, that's just life, embrace it. I like how Friedman referenced JK Rowlings Harry Potter epilogue - Harry, Ron and Hermione at platform 9 3/4 sending their kids off to Hogwarts and the three of them end up living normal mundane lives. Not chasing dragons and Voldemort and being heroes, just normal lives. That's real life. If we always want more more more we'll never be satisfied. I'd recommend reading this as an audiobook instead of a book because it felt like I was having a conversation with Friedman, as if it was dialogue, or a presentation. Very easy to follow in audio format.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Vivian

    Struggling with life choices. Essentially, Friedman is using the format of 'Where Are They Now?' to come to grips with her own life. Not a fan of being the voyeur to someone else's self analysis, but the strength of the book was that each person has a different set of needs to be met, talking beyond Maslow's hierarchy, and those paths are highlighted. The inception point is Interlochen summer camp. Interlochen seems to be part art colony and boot camp for youths, the freedom, but the intensity of Struggling with life choices. Essentially, Friedman is using the format of 'Where Are They Now?' to come to grips with her own life. Not a fan of being the voyeur to someone else's self analysis, but the strength of the book was that each person has a different set of needs to be met, talking beyond Maslow's hierarchy, and those paths are highlighted. The inception point is Interlochen summer camp. Interlochen seems to be part art colony and boot camp for youths, the freedom, but the intensity of condensed focus with an element of competition that acts as the impetus to catapult artists to the next level. Ignoring the navel-gazing, I think the questions of why do we lose connection with our creativity. Is it time and resources, the mythos of The Artist, or something else? I always hear Picasso and Oscar Wilde in a fake debate in my head, Picasso screaming, "The 'second career' is an illusion! while Wilde calmly counters that "the best work in literature is always done by those who do not depend on it for the daily bread." But, there is also this narcissistic need for validation and modern ethos of productivity that infects. I don't consider myself an artist, I do interact creatively with my environment, changing it to reflect what I feel. Literally, the state of post stamp garden tells you everything you need to know about my mental health, if everything is dead--beware. Right now, I have more fruits than ever and a posse of hummingbirds. I like to make things, but at the same time if I don't have a reason to make something then I generally don't--take my 8 foot squid. I had a pattern for two years malingering and as soon as I got an invite to a Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea Halloween party I bolted to the store for supplies. Squidy is awesome and was a big hit. At the party, I met a couple guys who do movie/tv work and their last project was a corpse for some CSI like show. Three months of work for twenty seconds of screen time; also, I thought those pics would be awkward if DHS seized their phone. But, they said to me I could sell the squid for a couple hundred dollars--besides the fact that it wouldn't pay for time and materials I was wondering why would I? The pressure to chronicle our creativity (as part of the pressure to chronicle our lives) has led us to believe that the creative process requires a creative product to share with the world. Friedman spends a bit of time demonstrating the pitfalls of "social" media between her stalking and comparing her life to others. That hamster wheel of being on, plugged in, producing more, consuming more--but I thought this was hysterical:Can we make you happy or sad? was the company's (Facebook admitted 2014 manipulation of users) essential question, and since then a slew of articles examining depression, envy, and other emotions linked to social media use have confirmed that the answer is a resounding yup. I think if you're trying to find resolution with what ifs and pondering the The Road Not Taken from a youth artist viewpoint this may help.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Laura Mills

    This was a quick, easy read about coming to terms with the road not taken, and dealing with our American obsession with success. Overall enjoyable and relatable, though I thought some of her points were overdone and she quoted from several mainstream books I had already read, which was a strange experience to have as a reader. I did love her interviews with former artist camp friends, and her observations about their lives were interesting and thoughtfully done. Ultimately I was rooting for the This was a quick, easy read about coming to terms with the road not taken, and dealing with our American obsession with success. Overall enjoyable and relatable, though I thought some of her points were overdone and she quoted from several mainstream books I had already read, which was a strange experience to have as a reader. I did love her interviews with former artist camp friends, and her observations about their lives were interesting and thoughtfully done. Ultimately I was rooting for the narrator, I hope she picks up the viola again someday!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lorilin

    Author Rachel Friedman grew up playing the violin, and she was very good at it. But when she began studying with the principal violist of the Boston Symphony while in college, she realized she wasn’t nearly as good as her competition. After several months spent lost in a haze of anxiety and self-doubt, she decided to stop working toward a career as a musician and switched her school and major completely. Flash forward ten years, now Friedman is a freelance writer in New York, relatively successfu Author Rachel Friedman grew up playing the violin, and she was very good at it. But when she began studying with the principal violist of the Boston Symphony while in college, she realized she wasn’t nearly as good as her competition. After several months spent lost in a haze of anxiety and self-doubt, she decided to stop working toward a career as a musician and switched her school and major completely. Flash forward ten years, now Friedman is a freelance writer in New York, relatively successful, sure, but still hounded by thoughts of what could have been if she had just stuck with the violin. She decides to interview eight of her former friends from the uber-prestigious arts camp they used to attend together called Interlochen. Her goal is to see how their career choices have played out and, more importantly, if they’re happy. MY THOUGHTS I’ll say right off the bat that this book is a little too “angsty college kid’s essay” for my taste. I really enjoyed reading about Friedman’s interactions with and impressions of her classmates. Their insights into what ultimately made them content in their careers is interesting food for thought. But the filler between those vignettes bored me to tears. I don’t care about the history of creativity or the history of how artists are perceived—or at least that’s not why I’m reading this book. I also don’t need to read every supporting quote from the many books Friedman has read on the subject of artists and their creative processes. Halfway through the book, I started skimming all paragraphs that began, “Like X author says…” and “As Y musician once taught…” Enough already. HOWEVER, there’s still a lot to love about Friedman’s story. I gleaned something from each classmate’s experience, and I finished the book feeling better prepared to parent my own kids. I especially liked Adam’s story, his faith in his own work ethic to get him through hard times and his willingness to stay flexible and open to new possibilities. I liked Eli’s story, too, his recognition that some people get lucky and make it big early, but most people experience a “slow burn” until they really start running things in their 50s—and that that’s okay. It was refreshing to read about his simple appreciation for working in a job he enjoyed at all, since many people don’t even have that luxury. And Dalia’s story, while not necessarily my favorite, was a giant red flag, warning me that I need to let my kids experience frustration now when they’re young so they can learn how to tolerate it and push through without falling to pieces later. Ironically, there is only one classmate that Friedman interviews who makes it as a musician in an orchestra. Michelle, also a violist, was Friedman’s main competition at Interlochen. She’s also the person Friedman is most nervous about interviewing, since she represents what Friedman was incapable of achieving. But even though Michelle is successful as a musician and mostly content with her career choices, it’s more than a little comforting to hear her admit life isn’t magically perfect from where she sits either. She experiences struggles and irritations, boredom and discontent, just like everyone else. In the end, my takeaway from this book is that there is no perfect path—even when you’re sure there is because you’re not on it. And there most certainly is no path that is heartache-free. I hope it doesn’t take Friedman as long as it took me to learn this one simple fact: life simply feels unpleasant sometimes—but not because you made the wrong choice or are inherently bad or the universe is plotting against you. This is just what life feels like. The trick is to stay flexible and open without getting fixated on extreme feelings or expectations. Easier said than done, I know, but there you have it. Many thanks to Penguin Books for the ARC! See more of my reviews at www.bugbugbooks.com!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sabrina Chapadjiev

    I really fucking tried with this book. I'm a bit obsessed with creation and the artist's process. The idea of this book is good, but the book on a whole seems like an excuse for a self-sabotaging thinker to have an excuse to write a book just so she can have another byline. It's self-serving, exasperatingly ego-centric and anxiety ridden. Sure, it touches on most artist's conundrums of 'Am I a good enough artist?' 'Do I need to suffer for my art?' et cetera. However, it does little to ease the a I really fucking tried with this book. I'm a bit obsessed with creation and the artist's process. The idea of this book is good, but the book on a whole seems like an excuse for a self-sabotaging thinker to have an excuse to write a book just so she can have another byline. It's self-serving, exasperatingly ego-centric and anxiety ridden. Sure, it touches on most artist's conundrums of 'Am I a good enough artist?' 'Do I need to suffer for my art?' et cetera. However, it does little to ease the anxiety. It feels like the book pitch was written after a night of endless Facebook stalking and worth comparison. In an age where publishers are taking risks on books that tap into people's anxiety's and new year's resolutions, this book faces the dedication and humility it takes to be an artist and twists it into a reality show. Art is not a competition. Art is not a comparison. Figure yer shit out, and stop comparing yourself to people. If you want to kickstart your artistic journey - I'd recommend 'The Artist's Way', 'Bird by Bird', or like - a zillion other books. Fucking read Rilke. Get inspired by other artists. Reading this book, for me, was a bit like bitching at brunch. And at the end, the best you could hope for would be someone effusively nodding, 'Totally, I KNOW!' at you. But would that someone ever pick up a pen? I couldn't finish the book. If you can't either, it's cool. Write your own. Gave 2 stars because I was so interested in the subject, and the few interesting points I found were gleaned from other authors quoted in the book.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Natalie Park

    This book piqued my interest as I went to Interlochen for one summer and have wondered where the girls in my cabin are living their lives. The stories and reconnections were interesting but the takeaway was a simple one - don’t have expectations and be open, creativity and success comes in many forms, and honor your dreams and passions but let them go when they have served you to enjoy the next experience life has to offer.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Cari

    This book hit a nerve for me. I'm a former gifted child and one of those kids who was told she could do anything if she just tried hard enough. Now I'm a 38-year-old with a lot of irons in the fire who still feels like she's not good enough. Friedman was a violist who attended Interlochen, and in this narrative, she follows her fellow students to find out what they have been doing with their creativity and potential. It's easy to judge each of them for "not living up" because everyone has their This book hit a nerve for me. I'm a former gifted child and one of those kids who was told she could do anything if she just tried hard enough. Now I'm a 38-year-old with a lot of irons in the fire who still feels like she's not good enough. Friedman was a violist who attended Interlochen, and in this narrative, she follows her fellow students to find out what they have been doing with their creativity and potential. It's easy to judge each of them for "not living up" because everyone has their own definition of what success is. Some are happy and others are restless, and they've all made different choices to get them where they have ended up. Ultimately, Friedman finds important truths about the human condition, including that it's okay to be disappointed, and that it's also okay not to live up to the expectations that others have of us.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Megan Bell

    For anyone who grew up gifted but ditched violin or poetry (hi!) or sculpture after college and has always wondered, “What if?” Now you’ll be wondering, “Where has AND THEN WE GREW UP been all my (adult) life?” As a child, Rachel Friedman played viola so skillfully she made it into the prestigious Interlochen Arts Camp, but she left her bow behind amid the pressure cooker of college. Now she’s a freelance writer in NYC plagued by old questions about what creative success is supposed to look like For anyone who grew up gifted but ditched violin or poetry (hi!) or sculpture after college and has always wondered, “What if?” Now you’ll be wondering, “Where has AND THEN WE GREW UP been all my (adult) life?” As a child, Rachel Friedman played viola so skillfully she made it into the prestigious Interlochen Arts Camp, but she left her bow behind amid the pressure cooker of college. Now she’s a freelance writer in NYC plagued by old questions about what creative success is supposed to look like. Where are all those fellow campers now? Did they all achieve their childhood dreams? In tracking these former child prodigies down, Friedman discovers a vast range of creative engagement, from a screenwriter in Hollywood to a Pilates instructor in Denver. Interweaving these interviews with passages from sages like Elizabeth Gilbert and Pema Chodron, she finds an acceptance and appreciation for creativity in all its forms and gives us all the much needed encouragement to make peace with the possible selves of our pasts and rediscover the creativity that was with us all along. *Also there’s several paragraphs meditating on the ending of Harry Potter so yeah, this book was made for me.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Roxanne

    I really liked the book. I have never been a creative type of person so I did not regret doing anything and then try and come back to it later. But I think the book has some good life lessons on Potential, Effort and Reward, Failure, Being suited to your calling (I am a caregiver), and not being Ordinary. I think we all good at something and when we know that do that.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Mel

    All artists should read this!! ♥️

  12. 4 out of 5

    June

    This is a great book for creative (and thwarted creative) people at any stage in their development--from a young artist choosing a path to someone in a so-called mid-life crisis to a person reflecting back on a career now behind them. It helps you get the perspective of others on the feelings that you thought you were alone in having. It is a bit of a slow read at times, but if you've ever thought "I used to be so good at...." or "I thought I'd be so much farther by now," it's worth checking out This is a great book for creative (and thwarted creative) people at any stage in their development--from a young artist choosing a path to someone in a so-called mid-life crisis to a person reflecting back on a career now behind them. It helps you get the perspective of others on the feelings that you thought you were alone in having. It is a bit of a slow read at times, but if you've ever thought "I used to be so good at...." or "I thought I'd be so much farther by now," it's worth checking out. Thanks to the publishers and NetGalley for a digital ARC for the purpose of an unbiased review.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kylie Mantei

    Friedman’s debut novel, the Good Girl’s Guide To Getting Lost, is one I return to at least two times a year. It is my absolute favourite example of a memoir - she develops her scenes so beautifully that I believe I am there, describes her “characters” in ways that, while often brief, are unique and understanding. I’ve been so excited for this book to be released so that we could see what Rachel’s been up to since, beyond the little snippets of life I found in her other articles and twitter. She Friedman’s debut novel, the Good Girl’s Guide To Getting Lost, is one I return to at least two times a year. It is my absolute favourite example of a memoir - she develops her scenes so beautifully that I believe I am there, describes her “characters” in ways that, while often brief, are unique and understanding. I’ve been so excited for this book to be released so that we could see what Rachel’s been up to since, beyond the little snippets of life I found in her other articles and twitter. She felt like an old friend. Therefore, when I picked this book up as my first read of the year, it caught me a bit off guard to realize that this book is much more personal essay, and less memoir. There are lengthy quotes and analytical paragraphs about OTHER books or people who have something to say about creativity, interwoven with the shorter scenes in which she visits and chats with old friends from her arts-focused summer camp they visited together in their youth. For the first third of the book, I was almost frustrated, wanting more of that memoir style writing I love so much from her. Eventually, I began to accept the book for what it was, and that’s when I began to truly appreciate what was happening in the pages. It’s a lovely examination on what happens when we grow up and how we reconcile what our passions were as kids and if we’ve pulled them into our adult lives. It is well-researched yet easy to be drawn into, with that balance of her storytelling, scene building side. I think this is a wonderful second book, and truly hope there won’t be as long of a wait in between this one and her next (a brief explanation of why this happened is within the pages, actually!). My only quip is that sometimes I found that there was so much quotation and analysis, especially of quite well-known books and authors (Cheryl Strayed, Elizabeth Gilbert, JK Rowling), that I was skipping through a few paragraphs to get to newer information. But none of it took away from the overall interesting theme of the book. I recommend it to anyone who grew up with a talent (so, most people?) or high standards for their own performance!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Laurie Reyes

    I’ve read multiple books with a similar theme over the past few years—that you can have more than one passion, or fall in and out of a creative pursuit, or you’re not a failure because you do not work in a field that aligns with your younger, creative endeavors. This book is by no means novel in its thinking or end result, but it’s a gentle reminder that I am not the only one who feels the way I do when I think back at the years spent in music in elementary through high school.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    A bracing read for anyone who grew up in the 80s and was told they were "gifted" or "creative"!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Alex Rosenfeld

    As someone struggling to let go of the 'writer' identity without losing all the powerful gifts that creativity brings to my life, this book helped me understand what it means to be an 'artist'/'creative' without having to make money off of that pursuit. If you're someone struggling to make it in any art form, or struggling to let go of art as the way you have to make money so that you can move on to a new phase of your life, this book is beautiful and absolutely for you.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    I found this immensely helpful as I follow my own creative journey!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Wright

    Friedman asks the question: are you a real artist/musician/writer if you don't make a living selling your work? She did everything right, had all the support and perseverance and talent anyone could hope for and still failed to flourish. She wanted to know why and how others had handled their own lack of success. She went to her former campmates to discover that they all handled it differently. She also takes on the Art Monster myth that your art must be the one single-minded thing in your life. Friedman asks the question: are you a real artist/musician/writer if you don't make a living selling your work? She did everything right, had all the support and perseverance and talent anyone could hope for and still failed to flourish. She wanted to know why and how others had handled their own lack of success. She went to her former campmates to discover that they all handled it differently. She also takes on the Art Monster myth that your art must be the one single-minded thing in your life. This is a welcome dose of reality for anyone who thought they should make it big. It is not your fault! You don't have to give up your art just because you can't support yourself with it! Thank you Rachel Friedman for helping us all get over our disappointment.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Gina

    I really enjoyed the beginning of this book, but somewhere between the first third and half way, the author makes a subtle shift from a fascinating look at where her creative, prodigy camp-mates ended up, as well as how it happened and how they feel about it, to a more general rant about being told that we’re special and that we can do anything if we work hard enough, and then feeling crushed and guilty when we don’t live up to that expectation and realize just how “ordinary” we actually are. One I really enjoyed the beginning of this book, but somewhere between the first third and half way, the author makes a subtle shift from a fascinating look at where her creative, prodigy camp-mates ended up, as well as how it happened and how they feel about it, to a more general rant about being told that we’re special and that we can do anything if we work hard enough, and then feeling crushed and guilty when we don’t live up to that expectation and realize just how “ordinary” we actually are. One of the author’s most insightful moments came when she realized how much easier it was for her to see her friend’s journey with understanding and compassion than it was to see her own in that way. Sadly, that insight didn’t seem to help her in reframing her own story. Thus book is SUCH a clear example of how we see our own experiences through a particular lens and how difficult it can be to change the filter, even when we are desperate to do just that. The author seems to see her experience of “quitting” the viola as the equivalent of “crying Uncle.” She speaks of it and wonders if she should have “tried harder” or if she “gave up too soon.” What struck me in her story, however, was that there came a point when success as a professional violist was going to require from her trade-offs that she was unwilling to make. She did not, for example, want the anxiety and physical illness that came with the conservatory practices and performances. Obviously, her vision of the musical life did not include this experience, and she could not possibly have known these elements would be a part of her experience until she arrived at a certain place along the journey. Perhaps she became stuck in that place, with a feeling of failure, because she was so young when the decision was made, and it is only with experience that we become able to let ourselves off-the-hook for doing what we know to be right even when it seems counter-intuitive or like “failure” by society’s standards. Perhaps it was also more difficult because it was like ending a relationship with a first love, one that was all-consuming and larger-than-life. Whatever the reason for so much anguish, I hope this project helped the author make peace with that part of her life.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kelsey

    I received this book through a Goodreads giveaway. I debated between giving this book two and three stars; as a formerly "gifted-and-talented" kid, and a current recently-graduated artist struggling with what I want to do with my life and constantly comparing myself to the creatives around me, I thought this book would be just perfect for me. However, it was less about artists in a broad and general sense, as I originally thought it would be, and more about the author trying to come to terms wit I received this book through a Goodreads giveaway. I debated between giving this book two and three stars; as a formerly "gifted-and-talented" kid, and a current recently-graduated artist struggling with what I want to do with my life and constantly comparing myself to the creatives around me, I thought this book would be just perfect for me. However, it was less about artists in a broad and general sense, as I originally thought it would be, and more about the author trying to come to terms with her own obsessions about her own creativity in her life. (It was also mainly focused on music and writing and just barely mentions other art practices and disciplines.) She interviews a handful of her old friends and camp-mates, and compares her life to theirs. I found myself not caring so much about what she had to say in relation to their lives, but I did find the parts where her peers were talking much more interesting than her own ramblings and trains of thought. I also thought a lot of passages often felt repetitive, preachy, or egotistical, and therefore unrelatable. It was overall kind of boring and felt like borderline rambling a lot; I feel like this could have been edited down into a blog post or magazine article, rather than being its own entire book. I really tried to like it, and I gave it three stars instead of two because I did find some of the messages about creativity helpful to me as I'm in a place in my life where I'm questioning what I should do right out of school, but without those little nuggets I found useful I would have given it two.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Samantha Kappes

    Have you ever felt despondent at  the balance in life between your passions, and what you do for a living? Are you a former overachiever, forced to come to terms with the fact that there are others out there better than you at what you love? Have you ever given up something that once was your passion-- forced to accept that moving forward with it is no longer an option? If so, this book may provide you some joy and comfort. And Then We Grew Up: On Creativity, Potential and the Imperfect Art of Ad Have you ever felt despondent at  the balance in life between your passions, and what you do for a living? Are you a former overachiever, forced to come to terms with the fact that there are others out there better than you at what you love? Have you ever given up something that once was your passion-- forced to accept that moving forward with it is no longer an option? If so, this book may provide you some joy and comfort. And Then We Grew Up: On Creativity, Potential and the Imperfect Art of Adulthood by Rachel Friedman is part memoir, part self-help book, and part biography. As a child, Friedman attended the performing arts camp Interlochen as a violinist. The camp united overachieving creative children from across the country in the same place every summer. When she finds herself searching for purpose as an adult, having given up the violin years ago, and struggling with her new creative passion of writing, Friedman decides to reach back out to her former peers and find out what life's like for them now. Have they stuck with their former dreams? Do they still have these creative passions, and if they don't, why not? What brings them meaning, fulfillment, and joy? In between, she reflects on their lives and her own, fitting in references to pop culture or other books, trying to find purpose.  It came at just the right time for me. I'm currently asking many of the same questions that Friedman was asking herself inside the book- it's reassuring to see so many different options for life, for feeling fulfilled, in her friends. It's reassuring to see that they are or have questioned the same things that I have, and to see how they've worked through these things. One friend has stuck with her passion, and works in an orchestra for a living, while another has adjusted the dream of performing for a living by becoming an orchestra teacher, so she can fit in her dreams of being a mother and a wife alongside her creative outlet. One has become an actress, who, in fear of being seen as a failure to the industry, doesn't allow herself to be interviewed for the book- while another openly works a day job that he doesn't love-- but it pays the bills and allows him to write by night. One former friend has traded her passion for music for a different, new passion-- much like our author, who traded violin for writing. It offers an answer for most anyone out there that might be searching- and if it doesn't, it's at least worth the experience of stepping into others lives and looking to better understand them. You find out what brings them joy, and fulfillment, and how they got or are getting there. And in the end-- isn't that what growing up, or what life itself, is all about? 

  22. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    I think if I’d read this at another time in my life, it wouldn’t be so impactful. Rachel, who harbored goals of being a professional violist one day (but actually quit in college), delves into the idea of creativity and what we think it is, potential and what THAT is (and when do we reach it? Ever?), our expectations of our own lives, dealing with disappointment, knowing when to “quit” or compromise, not equating certain results with success (and what sooo many self-help books say about it 🙄), a I think if I’d read this at another time in my life, it wouldn’t be so impactful. Rachel, who harbored goals of being a professional violist one day (but actually quit in college), delves into the idea of creativity and what we think it is, potential and what THAT is (and when do we reach it? Ever?), our expectations of our own lives, dealing with disappointment, knowing when to “quit” or compromise, not equating certain results with success (and what sooo many self-help books say about it 🙄), and so much more. I’ll post some favorite quotes or thoughts later, but this book is definitely one I’ll ruminate on...at a time in my life where I’m questioning my creativity or what I COULD have accomplished if I’d made other choices, Rachel’s book is like a healing balm. Life is such a mixed bag—it’s ok to feel content where we’re at, but also longing for what could’ve been; we can mourn something that used to be part of us or our identity, but embrace the fact that we are always changing, learning, and becoming someone new. So many good things in this book to think about. I used to identify with being an athlete, but gave that up when my college choice didn’t support it. I used to identify with a museum-curator-in the making, but gave that up to stay home with my children...so now what? Am I none of those things? Or did they just prepare me for what I’m doing now? It’s experience I’ve lived, knowledge I’ve gained, and maybe I don’t even want those things anymore, but still miss/mourn them. This is quite the long review—oops—but just really felt that reading this book can reconcile or bring peace of mind, assurance, whatever you call it, to a questioning mind. :) (Is this what midlife crisis is?? Ha!)

  23. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

    More reviews and book-ish content @ Club Book Mobile on FB, Club Book Mobile on IG & Andrea RBK And Then We Grew Up: On Creativity, Potential, and the Imperfect Art of Adulthood by Rachel Friedman is a book that hit me with a wave of nostalgia and emotion I wasn't unexpecting. That wave was also something I didn't know I needed. The author was once a dedicated violinist. She spent her summer at a fine arts camp, and she had aspirations of doing something big with her talent. Then, plans changed. More reviews and book-ish content @ Club Book Mobile on FB, Club Book Mobile on IG & Andrea RBK And Then We Grew Up: On Creativity, Potential, and the Imperfect Art of Adulthood by Rachel Friedman is a book that hit me with a wave of nostalgia and emotion I wasn't unexpecting. That wave was also something I didn't know I needed. The author was once a dedicated violinist. She spent her summer at a fine arts camp, and she had aspirations of doing something big with her talent. Then, plans changed. Now on another road, she is reflecting on what might have been. She also decides to reconnect with other campers who had similar talent and aspirations way back when. Each of their stories is so fascinating as they describe their own paths, and the author also parses out her own lessons and reflections from where they are. As someone who played violin through college, this was a book made for me. I miss playing in an orchestra so much, and this book was affirmation I need to pick my old friend back up even if just for me. This book was just a wonderful reflection that our creativity and art can (and should) evolve. This energy never goes away, and there is power and purpose in finding new ways to channel this in our life. This was so much a book for me. It spoke to the past and present version of me, and I just loved there was something so intentionally dedicated to a world I knew and still know. At times I was teary, other times I smiled, and overall, I left this one with a wave of nostalgia and inspiration I so needed.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Victoria B.

    2.5 stars Kelsey's review says most of what I want to say (the rambling, a little egotistical, and omgosh sooo boring). But to add to it, a) I thought it was going to be more about how to be more creative as an adult, since most of the time, creativity is squashed out of adulthood in pursuit of more "adulty" things. FYI, it's not. There's some "it's ok to be ordinary" (true, but not helpful) and "it's ok to quit" (still true but also not helpful). b) It's basically a book that reunites former Inte 2.5 stars Kelsey's review says most of what I want to say (the rambling, a little egotistical, and omgosh sooo boring). But to add to it, a) I thought it was going to be more about how to be more creative as an adult, since most of the time, creativity is squashed out of adulthood in pursuit of more "adulty" things. FYI, it's not. There's some "it's ok to be ordinary" (true, but not helpful) and "it's ok to quit" (still true but also not helpful). b) It's basically a book that reunites former Interlochen Arts Camp students as a "Where are they now?" TBH, I had never heard of Interlochen before this book. Sounds like a fancy camp for kids whose parents actually encouraged their passions despite the cost. I have no experience with that whatsoever along with a huge majority of other Americans. c) I thought I was going to scream if I read one more comparison to Ben Foster, who apparently was the most famous and/or successful person to come out of their cohort. And she didn't even contact Ben Foster, who may have similar anxieties and criticisms of himself as she and her cohorts did. After all, there are people more famous than him. But more importantly, WHY was she comparing apples and oranges? Their arts were totally different! And art is subjective! And fickle! Maybe he had a confidence in himself that she lacked which also affected their performance! And now I feel a little crazy. I received a complimentary copy of this book from a Goodreads Giveaway in exchange for my honest review.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Serena Pomerantz

    Near and dear to my heart, this book is a true story of Rachel re-connecting with her old friends from Interlochen Arts Camp, one of my favorite places in the world. For those of you who don’t know about Interlochen, it’s a truly magical place for students who are focused in the arts. I spent two summers there as a camper and one summer there as a counselor. Rachel had been a very serious viola player growing up, started in that program for college, but ultimately gave up the viola due to practi Near and dear to my heart, this book is a true story of Rachel re-connecting with her old friends from Interlochen Arts Camp, one of my favorite places in the world. For those of you who don’t know about Interlochen, it’s a truly magical place for students who are focused in the arts. I spent two summers there as a camper and one summer there as a counselor. Rachel had been a very serious viola player growing up, started in that program for college, but ultimately gave up the viola due to practice and performance anxiety. She’s always felt that regret and what if feeling. As she re-connected with her old friends from camp, she saw all the different paths they went. Some stayed in the arts through education, some continued to perform, some had legitimate performance careers, but still ultimately gave it up, and some pursued industries completely different from the arts. In general the book covers the topics of potential and accepting what aspects of ourselves are ordinary and what aren’t. It also covers the idea of how the grass isn’t always greener and if you really were able to trade lives with someone, you’d have to give up everything from your life, including the stuff you actually like about yourself and your life. I found the book easy to read and of course I enjoyed the nostalgia factor with all the references to camp. It was also a nice reminder that everyone struggles with balance. That being said, probably not a life changing read if you didn’t go to Interlochen. But worthwhile if struggling to fit art into your daily life!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Thomas

    For anyone who has ever referred to their job as a "day-job" or struggled with the gap between reality and expectations (focused on people with a background in the arts, but not too tough to apply some of these insights to other fields). I'm a similar age to the author, with less creative success, but plenty of creative dreams (and different roads not taken in my rear-view mirror) - so it hit a (sensitive) spot for me, but was helpful and encouraging. The author admits that this is very much an For anyone who has ever referred to their job as a "day-job" or struggled with the gap between reality and expectations (focused on people with a background in the arts, but not too tough to apply some of these insights to other fields). I'm a similar age to the author, with less creative success, but plenty of creative dreams (and different roads not taken in my rear-view mirror) - so it hit a (sensitive) spot for me, but was helpful and encouraging. The author admits that this is very much an exploration of a "Cadillac problem" (and there are a few eye-rolling moments), but for the most part this is a pretty grounded exploration of incorporating creativity into life, the incremental nature of progress, the corrosive nature of comparison, and grappling with the roads not taken (as well as the roads you never thought you'd travel, the moments when you realize the road you're on isn't the one you wanted to follow, or the times the car of your life bursts into flames ...). A good description might be: a little like an Austin Kleon pick-me-up, but in a memoir-ish mode.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Baobab

    Rachel Friedman writes that as she grew up she was a very serious and committed viola player who gave playing in college. This has troubled her ever since, and she wrote this book to examine not only her own feelings, but also those of other adults with similar experiences. The gifted child with great potential in something grows up to do something completely different. Friedman expects feelings of guilt, frustration, and finds a range of emotions and experiences. She interviews friends and acqu Rachel Friedman writes that as she grew up she was a very serious and committed viola player who gave playing in college. This has troubled her ever since, and she wrote this book to examine not only her own feelings, but also those of other adults with similar experiences. The gifted child with great potential in something grows up to do something completely different. Friedman expects feelings of guilt, frustration, and finds a range of emotions and experiences. She interviews friends and acquaintances from the summers she spent at the Interlochen Arts Camp, and liberally interprets their responses in light of her own experience. Although I was never in any way gifted or accomplished in music as a child I always admired and envied those who were. This book spoke to me, especially in the first half which deals mostly with musicians. I will be recommending it to a number of friends as well.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    If you are looking for a memoir about creativity and childhood dreams long lost (and maybe for a reason), you might relate to Rachel Friedman's, And Then We Grew Up. Friedman evaluates our potential and how this potential translates to success as adults. Interviewing a series of childhood friends that attended the same prestigious art camp, Friedman sees how they define success and who've they've become. Who held onto their creativity while also making a living from it. Who moved on but managed If you are looking for a memoir about creativity and childhood dreams long lost (and maybe for a reason), you might relate to Rachel Friedman's, And Then We Grew Up. Friedman evaluates our potential and how this potential translates to success as adults. Interviewing a series of childhood friends that attended the same prestigious art camp, Friedman sees how they define success and who've they've become. Who held onto their creativity while also making a living from it. Who moved on but managed to find happiness--and how? Although I had mixed feelings about the book, the premise and raw honesty is inspiring. You can find my full review on The Uncorked Librarian: https://theuncorkedlibrarian.com/and-... Thanks to the author for sending me a free advanced copy to review.

  29. 4 out of 5

    K LF

    I really liked Rachel's first book and thoroughly enjoyed this follow up. Great account of her wrestling with her loss of "specialness" and also her frustrations of being a writer. She shares her inner journey of reframing these struggles while researching and interviewing friends for this book. It's great to see her inner growth and witness the developing acceptance of where she is now (the life she chose) during her time writing this book. And I like the balance between her friends' thoughts a I really liked Rachel's first book and thoroughly enjoyed this follow up. Great account of her wrestling with her loss of "specialness" and also her frustrations of being a writer. She shares her inner journey of reframing these struggles while researching and interviewing friends for this book. It's great to see her inner growth and witness the developing acceptance of where she is now (the life she chose) during her time writing this book. And I like the balance between her friends' thoughts and various authors' writings including Pema Chödrön, Ann Patchett, C. Bukowski, R. Solnit and many others. So many new (to me) writers that are now added to my TBR list. It had a tiny bit of flavour (for me) of MWF seeking BFF also as she discusses her friends lives and as their rekindled friendships grow. I am definitely looking forward to whatever she writes next!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    This book is amazing! I expected that it wouldn’t be something I could relate to very much, seeing as I am not an especially creative person, but having gone through a professional journey of walking away from what I once thought to me my life’s passion, I found this book incredibly enlightening and comforting. The way that the author approaches failure puts words to emotions that anyone can relate to and offers a refreshing approach to accepting change beyond the recently popular approach of ma This book is amazing! I expected that it wouldn’t be something I could relate to very much, seeing as I am not an especially creative person, but having gone through a professional journey of walking away from what I once thought to me my life’s passion, I found this book incredibly enlightening and comforting. The way that the author approaches failure puts words to emotions that anyone can relate to and offers a refreshing approach to accepting change beyond the recently popular approach of manifesting, vision board-ing, and “girl wash your face-ing”, which I personally love the idea of but never really comforted me or helped me heal like this book did. I recommend this book to everyone! It is truly wonderful.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.