The Lauras *Book Review*
Title: The Lauras
Author: Sara Taylor
Publish Date: August 1, 2017
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Quote: “Even if I had been able to say those words, I would have never been able to get them all out at once, to describe every facet of the experience. Memory is slippery, not even like a fish but like an eel, like an ice cube, like a clot of blood whose membranous skin can barely contain internal shifting liquidity. It’s something that, the firm are you trying to grasp it, the weaker the hold you have on it, the less trustworthy it becomes. But it doesn’t matter what really happened, does it?
From the Back Cover:
I didn t realise my mother was a person until I was thirteen years old and she pulled me out of bed, put me in the back of her car, and we left home and my dad with no explanations. I thought that Ma was all that she was and all that she had ever wanted to be. I was wrong. As we made our way from Virginia to California, returning to the places where she d lived as a child in foster care and as a teenager on the run, repaying debts and keeping promises, I learned who she was in her life-before-me and the secrets she had kept even from herself. But when life on the road began to feel normal I couldn t forget the home we d left behind, couldn t deny that, just like my mother, I too had unfinished business.
This enigmatic pilgrimage takes them back to various stages of Alex s mother s life, each new state prompting stories and secrets. Together they trace back through a life of struggle and adventure to put to rest unfinished business, to heal old wounds and to search out lost friends. This is an extraordinary story of a life; a stunning exploration of identity and an authentic study of the relationship between a mother and her child.
The Lauras is the new novel from the exceptionally gifted author of The Shore, which was long listed for the Baileys Women s Fiction Prize and shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year.
At times I struggled with this book as it get’s pretty slow in some places, plus the plot is not that strong. However the writing is strong and draws you in with a masterful play of words.
What starts out as a middle of the night road trip with mom, turns into a journey of self discovery for transgender teen Alex (who is the voice of the story). The mother decides to leave her husband and Alex’s father in the middle of the night, rousing Alex from sleep, they take off crisscrossing the country in order to visit friends, repay debts and favors. They stop occasionally for work and so that Alex can go to school. What I find the most interesting, is that all the stories Mom tell’s Alex are about different girls who she refers to as Laura weather that was their real name or not, though we are never really given a reason why. During the drive mom tells Alex a whole host of stories about her past, where the reader learns that she was raised by parents who weren’t real concerned with their children and was in and out of foster homes , where she meet some of the Lauras and of her college years and how she ran away from home a lot and had some wonderful and not so wonderful adventures. In between that time we learn about Alex, who identifies as neither male or female, has to contend with loneliness, bullying and missing dad. That’s it, that’s the basis of the story, we learn all about mom’s life through the view of Alex. You do learn a little about Alex as well.
The character development was great, and I really felt for them both. The book so well written that it just draws you in and keeps you there, wanting to know where they go next, what sort of payment or visit will it be. Watching Alex’s journey of self discovery was at times both painful and insightful.
It is not a light and fluffy read, at times it is dark and moody, perhaps even a bit depressing. But it will make you think and feel and that is very powerful.
*I received an advanced copy from blogging for books in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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