Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Fiction Contemporary Women

Adult Onset

by (author) Ann-Marie MacDonald

Knopf Canada
Initial publish date
Aug 2015
Contemporary Women, Family Life, Literary
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2015
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Jan 2015
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it


From the acclaimed, bestselling author of two beloved classics, Fall On Your Knees and The Way the Crow Flies, Adult Onset is a powerful drama that makes vividly real the pressures of life and love, and the undercurrents that run deep through even the most devoted families.
     Mary Rose MacKinnon—nicknamed MR or "Mister"—is a successful author who has opted to put aside her career in her 40s and devote herself to her young family. She lives in a comfortable urban neighbourhood with her partner, a busy theatre director, and their two children, trying valiantly and often hilariously to balance the demands of (mostly) solo parenting with the needs of her relentlessly spry but elderly parents. As a child, she suffered from an illness, long since cured and "filed separately" in her mind. But as domestic frustrations mount, she experiences a flare-up of forgotten symptoms which compel her to rethink her own childhood. Over the course of one outwardly ordinary week, Mister's world threatens to unravel, as the spectre of violence raises its head with dangerous implications for her and her children. Crafted with humour and unerring emotional accuracy, Adult Onset is a contemporary tale by turns searing and uplifting.

About the author

Ann-Marie MacDonald is a writer and actor. Her works include the play Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet), which won the Governor General's Award for Drama. Her first novel, Fall on Your Knees, was nominated for and won many awards and was chosen as one of Oprah's Book Club selections. Her lates book is The Way the Crow Flies.

Ann-Marie MacDonald's profile page


  • Short-listed, Canadian Authors Association Literary Award
  • Short-listed, Lambda Book Award

Editorial Reviews

Praise for Adult Onset

"A novel impossible to put down. . . . Superb, a fine blending of fact and fiction, of remembered incident and forgotten history, a wonderfully written treatise on the power of the past to impinge on the present." —The London Free Press 
"Adult Onset shows us a new Ann-Marie MacDonald, one who is willing to break away from the safe scaffolding of a historical structure and offer readers some unflinching and realistic takes on the traditional domestic novel, exploring what it's like for anyone struggling to raise kids in an age of perfection parenting. It's a lively, moving and often funny story that has the potential to help usher in a new era of honest literary depictions of families in all their permutations." —Zoe Whittall, The Walrus
"Has the same beautifully crafted descriptions and character-driven storytelling that readers have come to love from the writer." —Canadian Living

Other titles by Ann-Marie MacDonald

Related lists