The Lauras A novel

Sara Taylor, 1988-

Book - 2017

Didnt 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 shed 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 sec...rets she had kept even from herself. But when life on the road began to feel normal I couldnt forget the home wed left behind, couldnt deny that, just like my mother, I too had unfinished business.

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Subjects
Genres
Road fiction
Published
London ; New York : Hogarth [2017]
Edition
First American edition
Language
English
Physical Description
292 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN
9780451496850
045149685X
Main Author
Sara Taylor, 1988- (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Alex, the narrator of this coming-of-age road-trip novel, is 13 and barely awake when Ma packs the two of them into the car, heading not-sure-where and leaving Alex's dad behind. Confusing everyone they encounter as they wonder whether Alex is a boy or a girl, Alex confidently feels like both without a need to explain. Alex likes the excitement of making tracks with Ma but hates not knowing her full plan and asks too many questions. Occasionally, Ma lets fly harrowing tales from her youth spent in, out of, or running away from foster homes. In various cities at different stages of her life, Ma knew Lauras, the first being the best childhood friend, who Ma thinks somehow led her to all the others. While the pair crisscross the country in search of Lauras and others, Alex survives upsetting assaults and experiences tender first love. Ultimately, understanding Ma's past and pathological restlessness deepens Alex's love for them both. Taylor (The Shore, 2015) packs vastly observed stories of mothers, children, and memory into her impressive second novel. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

A mother and her teenage daughter embark on a cross-country journey through the mother's past in this second novel from the author of The Shore. After months of listening to her parents argue, the narrator, Alex, 13, is suddenly living on the road with her capricious mother, Ma, who ferries them from Florida to California in search of a place to make a life. Lending structure to the road trip are flashbacks to Ma's episodes with "The Lauras," the various girls and women who shaped Ma's young identity in school, foster houses, and girls homes. Ma's journey to self-understanding sets the stage for Alex's self-discovery, as she—unbeknownst to Ma—trades sex for rides from strange men, writes letters to her abandoned father, and comes to know her mother's darkest secrets. The trip finally leads them to cross the border into Canada, where one of the Lauras may or may not offer both Ma and Alex what they seek. Though there are some underexplored subplots, the mother-daughter relationship lends pathos and purpose to this voyage. Agent: Lucy Luck, Conville & Walsh. (Aug.) Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A 13-year-old girl on the run with her mother from her father revisits her mother's former foster care homes to repay old debts and keep promises, learning astonishing truths about her mother's identity that reinforce their bond in extraordinary ways.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

A thirteen-year-old girl on the run with her mother from her father revisits her mother's former foster care homes to repay old debts and keep promises, learning astonishing truths about her mother's identity that reinforce their bond in extraordinary ways.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Shortlisted for the 2017 Sunday Times Young Writer of the YearFrom critically acclaimed and Baileys Prize-nominated author Sara Taylor comes a dazzling new novel about youth, identity, and family secrets After a fight with Alex’s father, Ma pulls Alex out of bed and onto a pilgrimage of self-discovery through her own enthralling past. Guided by a memory map of places and people from Ma’s life before motherhood, the pair travels from Virginia to California, each new destination and character revealing secrets, stories, and unfinished business. As Alex’s coming-of-age narrative unfolds across the continent, we meet a cast of riveting and heartwarming characters including brilliant Annie, who seeks the help of Ma and Alex to escape the patriarchal cult in which she was raised, and the tragic young Marisol, whose dreams of becoming a mother end in heartbreak.   Slowly, Alex begins to realizes that the road trip is not a string of arbitrary stops, but a journey whose destination is perhaps Ma’s biggest secret of all. Told from the perspective of Alex, a teenager who equates gender identification with unwillingly choosing a side in a war, and written with a stunningly assured lyricism, The Lauras is a fearless study of identity, set against the gorgeously rendered landscape of North America.