Michelle Andrews and Zara McDonald examine the limbo between childhood and adulthood in their new book The Space Between. The book reflects on their own experiences and acts as a comfort for anyone in their twenties.
The witty reflections on their personal experiences are a natural extension of the Shameless podcast the authors have been hosting for the past two years. If you’re an avid listener, you’ve no doubt read this book as it has been flying off the shelves since the 1st of September this year.
Just like Shameless, their book has something for everyone and you’ll find bits of the author’s experiences that really resonate with you. I personally enjoyed Zara’s words on ambition and how “the external pressure for our twenties to be carefree and playful is suffocating, and not our reality at all”. As an ambitious 22-year-old I have faced derision on decisions to head to the library instead of the Valley on a Thursday night and found Zara’s conflicts over social and work life to be relatable. She continues, “we found ourselves fretting over this one idea: if the need to sacrifice, or the struggle to manage priorities, did not dissipate over time, then would the guilt ever subside?”. Zara and Michelle discuss their mutual focus on career goals that characterized a lot of their early twenties as journalists in Melbourne. Writing in the voice of a comforting older sister, I found Zara and Michelle to be the reassurance I needed to have autonomy over my own goals and the discipline required to stick to them.
The Space Between is split into four categories; Love, Ambition, Mind & Body and Voice. Each category has around 10 entries written by either Zara or Michelle in the format of an email dialogue, checklist or direct to the reader. Many colloquialisms and pop-culture references are used to give the book the feel of a breezy holiday read you can flip through during a commute or on the beach.
My favourite titles of entries in the book include: ‘The space between my fridge and your fridge’ and ‘Everything start-ups offer people in their twenties (apart from, you know, proper pay)’. Apart from being a great laugh, these section headings were useful as I haphazardly navigated the book out of order. I can attest that the book is able to be read out of order and is good for passing around to your housemates to see if they also failed the ‘am I still immature as fuck, or am I a boring adult now?’ checklist. The answer is no, they are entering the ‘Dyson vacuum cleaner years’, apparently.
The book balances the heavier topics of sexism, divorce, rejection and toxic friends with comedic relief your Euro gap year, forgetting to take your car to the mechanic and one-night stands.
If you haven’t seen Shameless’ pink and yellow square in your podcast feeds, I’d highly recommend checking it out. However, listening to their podcast is definitely not a pre-requisite for enjoying their book. But if you’re looking for a wholesome and empowering collection of essays to look through on uni break then I’d recommend picking up a copy of The Space Between.
Note: The book featured in this review was provided to Glass and Jasmin free of charge by Penguin Random House as a press copy. However, the opinions of the reviewer are their own.