The Lauras by Sara Taylor

The Lauras

Sara Taylor

The Lauras is a beautifully rendered story of motherhood and youth, of independence and bravery, set against some of the most beautiful places in the United States.

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From critically acclaimed and Baileys Prize-nominated author Sara Taylor comes a dazzling new novel about youth, identity, and family secrets
 
I didn’t realize 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 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 kid 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. 

Sara Taylor brings the American landscape to vivid life in an unforgettable road novel that strikes at the heart of a mother-child bond.


Advance Galley Reviews

It wasn't only the fanciful writing paired with the straight out story telling, or the lure of the need to find out how it all ended, but the overall draw of taking off into the wide world; righting a wrong, getting revenge, and helping someone escape a life they no longer wanted. It was like following along on a bucket list road trip that coincided with a coming of age journey. From the mother's restless need to find home with one of her 'Lauras' to the frustration of puberty and never really knowing if Alex was male or female (and not caring either way by the end), I think there is something for everyone to identify with on some level in this book.

Initially I enjoyed the book due to the strong characterization and lush descriptions. Taylor is a strong writer who makes scenery come alive. Unfortunately, the plot meandered and I did not finish the book after a particularly disturbing and vulgar scene.

This is a difficult book to review. It is definitely a mother and daughter road trip tale as advertised yet it so much more. I almost stopped reading the book about a third of the way through because even though it was written beautifully it was filled with so much ugliness. I found it depressing. Unfortunately, because it was written so well it stayed with you. I wasn't sure that I needed depression during my relaxation time while the daily news is bombarding us with ugliness too. It is a story of a mom and her child who is 13 years old at the start of the trip and is 16 years old by the end. It tells the tale of a mother who leaves the child's father and travels with the child across country in order to complete some unfinished business from her past which mostly occurred while she was in the foster care system. I really do not want to give any spoilers other than the reader's feelings for the mother change throughout the story.Many times I was angry with the mother, at other times I felt sorry for her and still at others empathetic. It is told in first person. The narrator being the thirteen year old child,Alex, who refuses or is unable to choose her gender and is angered by the necessity to declare one. It also tackles the abuse that Alex endures due to the world not understanding her refusal to do so. It is a coming of age story for the child, Alex (And no matter what her parents think, even at 16 ,she is still a child ) and also for the mother . It is a truly moving tale yet a disturbing one. When I finished reading the book, I just sat attempting to digest what I read. I guess it was a testament to the author's skills that I wanted to write the mother a letter. It would not have done any good. She did the best that she knew, I suppose. And the child, how can one not worry .

 


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