The Lying Life of Adults

The Lying Life of Adults

Large Print - 2020
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Giovanna's pretty face has changed: it's turning into the face of an ugly, spiteful adolescent. More like her Aunt Vittoria's every day, her father says. But is she seeing things as they really are? Will she truly turn out like her despised aunt, the woman her parents have spent their lives avoiding and deriding? Where must she look to find her true reflection and a life she can claim as her own? Giovanna's search takes her to two kindred cities which fear and detest one another: the Naples of the heights, which assumes a mask of refinement, and the Naples of the depths, a place of excess and vulgarity. Adrift, she vacillates between these two cities, falling into one then climbing back to the other. But neither city seems to offer her any answers.
Publisher: Waterville, ME : Thorndike Press/Gale, 2020
ISBN: 9781432880545
Characteristics: 497 p. ; 22 cm
Additional Contributors: Goldstein, Ann 1949-


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
JCLFlanneryC Oct 06, 2020

A wonderful, powerful, and dark coming-of-age story. If, like me, you had trouble with the Neapolitan novels and who knows why-- maybe the pinky/lavender book art or egregious mismarketing of Ferrante as an author of "chick lit"-- try her standalone novels, beginning with Days of Abandonment. Like Days of Abandonment, The Lying Life of Adults is an ugly book, obsessed with its own ugliness, interested in the voluntary abasement/nihilism of teenage girls. To her childhood friend, Giovanna spits: "Only b****es like you study like parrots, get promoted, and are respected by their boyfriends. I don't study, I get flunked, and I'm a whore." Wow! And still Giovanna is vulnerable enough to be made and unmade in the eyes of others, specifically the men around her. I love too, that this book has neither a happy nor unhappy ending, I feel like bad girls are always doomed in fiction and these kinds of books are most often narrated from the perspective of their introverted friend. Powerful move to give the first person back to the flunkies! Loved it, recommend it for Ferrante fans and anyone on the fence.

Sep 18, 2020

You have everything in this novel to keep you entertained for many days: a coming-of-age tale, class conflict, generational vendettas and grudges, bad romance and etc. Did I mentioned that translation from the Italian to English by Ann Goldstein is superb as well? Do not miss it! Another quality read from enigmatic Elena Ferrante.
Soon to be Netflix series....

Sep 13, 2020

Ferrante moves from the working class Naples of her Neapolitan novels to the middle class city and academe. Her main character transitions from a sweet and happy 12 year old to an estranged 16 year old. Often it is difficult to remember that she is a child of 14 or 15 - her thoughts seem to be those of an older person. As she engages the world, her appearance and relationships with boys and men are the most important standards by which she defines herself.

Sep 04, 2020

I enjoyed Ferrante’s Neapolitan series, and I was determined to enjoy The Lying Life of Adults. I tried reading it and Giovanna’s self-absorption and her hatred of her parents and what they supposedly did to her was too much. I started with reading and then went to the audiobook, thinking maybe if I heard the words spoken, it might make a difference. The only difference was that Giovanna and her Aunt Vittoria became more toxic. I know that there would be some rough language about sex. I expected that, but I really had hoped there would be some grown in Giovanna as the story followed her from age twelve to sixteen. The only grown seemed to be in her breasts. At the end there seems to be the possibility of more books to come and maybe Giovanna will eventually move out of her self-absorption, but I found no pleasure in this book.

LPL_MaryW Aug 29, 2020

Nothing will convince you to stay home and read all day like an elegant, gritty Ferrante novel. Her latest, dripping with richness and complexity, features Giovanna. In the unforgettable opening sequence, her powerful father declares her ugly, comparing her face to that of his estranged sister, who repulses him. Giovanna tracks down the source of her ugliness—this unknown relative—as her body’s uncontrollable blossoming into womanhood leaves her disgusted and ashamed. With intense fury and hunger at odds, Giovanna burns through her life, uncovering a web of lies whose epicenter is an object as beautiful and ugly as herself. Ferrante’s work is so good I could cry.

debwalker Feb 12, 2020

Growing up in Naples by the great Ferrante.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at CALS

To Top