This novel is about identity, growing up, complicated relationships, and wandering the country to discover and rectify old secrets, among other things. I thought it was really well done!
In The Lauras, Alex’s mom pulls Alex out of bed in the night, and they leave Alex’s father behind on a cross-country road trip. Together, they travel through Alex’s mom’s past, meeting a bunch of different people and ghosts from her past along the way.
Alex is an androgynous teen, and we never learn what sex he/she was born with. This is a major theme in the book, along with identity, as Alex is hitting puberty and experiencing a confusing coming-of-age. Alex learns a lot about his/her mom, as she reveals more and more about her troubled past throughout the journey.
The book’s title comes from the women from Alex’s mom’s past. Although they weren’t all named Laura, Alex’s mom just calls them all that, because they’re all women who made an impact on her life. They travel across the country seeing them, while Alex’s mom tells Alex her stories about her troubled upbringing.
I thought this was a great read. Taylor’s writing style grabbed me from the beginning, and I loved the nuggets of great prose about the complexities of life:
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 firmer you try 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? Reality matters less than how it is perceived, that edge or feather or scale that you catch onto as it flickers by. And after a year or ten in a dingy pocket who can say if it was a lizard’s scale or a dragon’s in the first place?
Overall, I thought this was a great read. I recommend it if you’re a literary fiction lover! It’s deep and there are a lot of complicated emotions, yet the story itself is fairly simple. Pick it up if that sounds like your kind of read! 4 stars from me.
Thank you to Blogging for Books for a copy of The Lauras in exchange for an honest review.