"Responsible Adults is devastating, in the best possible way. McNair guides us through domestic worlds where we might fear to tread alone, revealing truths and exposing worlds peopled with want, kitchens with empty refrigerators and strange men. Children eat grape jelly with a spoon and long for ordinary lives as they negotiate adult problems as best they can. Readers are wiser and more compassionate for knowing these stories."
-Bonnie Jo Campbell, author of American Salvage
National Book Award finalist
"In her piercing collection, Patricia Ann McNair confronts those charged with caring and protecting us, and who are-indelibly-responsible for what we become. The stories in Responsible Adults pull at the tether that winds from children to their parents, from wife to husband, from sister to brother, from stranger to stranger-always, it seems, on the verge of snapping. A young daughter charts the unsuccessful, often abusive, dating life of her widowed mother; an adult son perpetually listens for his father's voice inside a can of beans; a daughter communicates her pain through messages on her estranged father's answering machine; a substitute teacher tries to connect with a grieving student; a widowed minister takes in a young and pregnant stranger. In a small Midwestern town, McNair's characters teeter between absence and yearning, stagnancy and change. Always, she treats them with compassion and care. Responsible Adults is bursting with gorgeous, gutting stories."
-Sahar Mustafah, author of The Beauty of Your Face
"Patricia Ann McNair's Responsible Adults is a journey to a land where adults have let their wounds define them, forcing the children to become their own heroes. I read this gripping collection with my seatbelt tight, barreling from desperation to hope, danger to redemption, struggle to peace. There are writers who allow you to keep a safe distance from the lives of their characters. And there are writers like McNair, whose stories fly so low to the truth, you are thankful you can read them safely from 30,000 feet."
-Desiree Cooper, author of Know the Mother
Pulitzer Prize nominated journalist