The Lauras – Sara Taylor

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Goodreads Synopsis: 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.

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Review: I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started reading The Lauras. I had heard really good things about Sara Taylor’s first novel, The Shore, so I hoped I was in for a good read.

Alex is a teenager struggling with puberty, self-discovery and self image. This is all heightened by the fact that we never find out Alex’s gender. For a while this bothered me, only slight remarks were made about people wondering whether Alex was a boy or a girl and I found myself wanting to know as well. However, when this becomes a major focus of the novel I quickly realise that I, nor any other reader, is supposed to know, and I was OK with that. It really highlighted the emphasis that is placed on gender and, well.. it really doesn’t matter, just be who you want to be.

Alex’s mother is as complex as Alex, her chequered past leads them to different situations that Alex should probably not be confronted with, but each of them focus on a different aspect of life that, at one point or another, we all must deal with. The relationship between the two is electric, the perfect representation of a mother/teenager bond.

I absolutely loved this novel. It really moved me. Taylor’s way with words is perfect and I genuinely connected with the characters in the story.

I was provided a copy of this ebook by NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

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