The Lauras

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 01 Nov 2017

Member Reviews

There are so many metaphors in the first ten pages, that it was impossible to read this without my attention drifting off.  Overly flowery, I couldn't settle in and enjoy this.
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I flew through this book but the ending just left me disappointed.. I think the author is a good writer but the full story just left me unaffected although parts of the story were very sad but since I just could not suspend belief the book just left me cold.
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This book was very well done. I loved that the character was agender and the way the story unfolded over time, piece by piece. It was great to see a complex representation of a mother-child relationship and to see a mother character portrayed with such a full life. It was a bit wordy in places but I cannot fault the author's descriptions, which were very well chosen.
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I'm afraid, I struggled through the first half and then gave up. I couldn't really see where the story was going and wasn't interested in the mom's journey to look for people from her past. I liked the main protagonist but just didn't connect with the mom. I figured she killed the dad, but that still didn't really motivate me to keep reading just to find out if she did or not. However, the writing was good and I liked the tone and pace a lot. I would picked up another book by the same author.
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This was an interesting coming of age story. I liked the characters and their stories. Some parts were a bit slow. Overall I enjoyed the read.
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I received this novel from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. In parts, this review might be a little too honest… 

The Lauras by Sara Taylor took me a long time to read. For such a fairly small book, it was hefty and slow moving. I found myself dreading each encounter with it, but would get sucked in just for a little bit when I did pick it up, leading me back for seconds and thirds. I took it on a vacation, hoping that during the 48+ hours of cumulative travel time I would be able to finish the last half. Instead, I dozed. Now I realize that The Lauras is like the “Sleep With Me podcast” - rambling, sweet and monotone.

For some readers this would be the draw. Taylor has a knack for language, her style is poetic and pretty. Her topics are current, her characters laden with enough angst and mystery to appeal to both teenage and adult readers. The Lauras is about Alex of unknown gender, who is taken by his/her mother on a spontaneous cross-country road trip to rediscover her difficult past. While driving from one location to the other, stopping and living in various towns, Alex’s mother tells her the stories of her parents, her foster homes, and the different Lauras that she had met during that time. Alex goes along with this because he/she is swept up by her bigger-than-life mother, all the while struggling with his/her worrying thoughts of identity, sexuality and worry about the father and husband that they had left behind.

Alex is a sympathetic character. He/she is over-shadowed by her mother’s needs, regrets and dreams, and for the first part of the book Alex’s voice and identity is almost non-existent. The further they go, the older Alex gets, the more we learn about his/her personality, mostly through sexual experiences and thoughts. As a formal teenager, I could relate to what he/she was going through in that sense, and yet, I could not connect to him/her. There is no other way that I can describe Alex but as a rag. I wanted to hear more from Alex, and though I understand that this lack of voice is the whole point of the novel, but his/her inability to do anything but follow his/her mother without question to the point of avoiding conversations such as “Where are we going?” and “What are we doing?” was frustrating. Alex’s mother often dismissed her with “I’ll tell you later” and “You’ll find out” but for me, as a reader, those answers did little but make me dislike the characters and the book. Which is why I really could not care about Alex, his/her mother, or the Lauras.

I think that Alex’s mother’s character was supposed to be this larger-than-life, hurt-your-eyes-if-you-stare-too-long woman, who is selfish, wounded, full of secrets, who played with bisexuality, gave a daughter up for abortion, sold her body, worked too much to care for her remaining child, and yet that’s all she seemed to be – just a collection of stories and characteristics that are supposed to make her fascinating, edgy. Who am I to say that people like that don’t exist? She could easily be featured on /r/raisedbynarcissists on Reddit. 

I did not realize how much I disliked this book until I started jotting down ideas for this review. It would explain why I dreaded it so much, even on the long plane ride. Despite Taylor’s obvious talent, I found this novel to be just a tad too whiny and melodramatic, filled with too much emotional drivel for any of it to be truly meaningful. One of the only reasons that I kept on reading is because I was hoping that the reason they ran away so quickly and quietly in the middle of the night is because Alex’s mother killed her husband. I think that would have made for a better twist at the end than a long-lost dying lover.
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Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟     

Wow! I have just finished reading the final page of THE LAURAS and I can already tell you that this book is going to be on my list of the BEST BOOKS OF 2017.

Although this book will not be officially released until August, I urge everyone that reads this review to put the date on your calendar and not to miss out. 

This is one of those extremely rare books that is worth standing in line for  - at midnight, on the eve of its release. Yes, IT IS THAT GOOD. 

THE LAURAS is a tale that will take readers on a journey of dual-discovery. It is a tale of a mother and child who set out on a cross country trip during which the mother makes multiple interesting side-trips. 

These trips could last a day, a month, or even several months. They could be boring (in Alex's opinion), they could be strange, and sometimes they were even downright terrifying. 

Alex is a child (less due to her age, and more due to her limited life experience) when this story begins, but as the cross-country Odyssey continues Alex grows into a young adult. Thanks to the fact that Alex is the narrator, readers are brought along on Alex's unique journey into the perils and delights of becoming the person who was always meant to be. And, trust me - this is a coming of age story unlike any other. 

I wish there was a way to give more than 5 out of 5 stars, because this book is a masterpiece of fiction and I have no doubt that it will win many awards and will end up on Bestseller Lists everywhere. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟  

THE CHARACTERS: 

How do I describe Alex's mother? It's a dilemma, but perhaps I will let Alex  describe her since that expanation will be so much better than mine. 

"Ma's mood had perked up; I could see the happy on her face and the weight was rolling off her shoulders like stones ... and it looked like she might start singing at any moment. If she'd been the kind of person that sang. Really, she'd be more likely to start spontaneously handing around shots of tequila as an expression of happiness, but singing sounds better." 

Some people might think that having a Mom like that would be fun - and maybe it would be; for a little while, anyway. But, a parent is meant to take care of their child, not act like a child herself. 

Alex is a conundrum wrapped in an enigma. When the reader learns more and more about Alex's life and personality, it is impossible not to root for this interesting and inscrutable character. Readers will find themselves second guessing what they think they know about Alex and this mystery remains until the very end of the book. 

MORE...

This would be a terrific book to feature in a Book Club setting since there is just so much in it that readers will want to talk about. 

I also think that this book just might have some people questioning their own stances on many issues. I would love to say more here, but I refuse to ruin this story for anyone. 

FAVORITE QUOTE: 
"But I didn't have the child's blind trust in the omnipotence of parents anymore: I had eaten the apple, knew that Ma was no different from me, that she probably didn't know what to do right now anymore than I would, that her only advantage was a rapidly narrowing gulf of experience." 

IN CONCLUSION:

ADD THIS BOOK TO YOUR TBR (TO BE READ) LIST AND MARK AUGUST 1st, 2017 ON YOUR CALENDAR. You will be glad you did.
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This book was a very intimate look at the relationship between a mother and an adolescent told from the perspective of the child who is now ~50 years old looking back on their experience when the child was 13-16 coming of age and discovering their identity including dealing with gender and sexual orientation issues that were very interesting for the reader to explore. Overall captivating and a good read, although it was hard to imagine a mother being so moody, unconventional and wound up moving like a whirlwind caught up in her own needs while still being a good mother. The father was short changed as you know the child loves him, but you don't learn anything about him. The story leaves you wondering how the next 3 decades were for the main character who was becoming a smart and unique adult by the end of the novel.
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Thirteen year old Alex is pulled from bed and taken on a cross country road trip when his mom decides to leave his father.  The novel tells the story of how Alex's mother revisits her past, along with the several Lauras that were in her former life as she makes stops along the way to make amends and make her peace with her past.  Taylor plays with naming here both in the repetition of Lauras and in the questioning of Alex's gender.  I especially enjoyed the way the author both tied up the story of the road trip and left open the future wanderings of Alex.
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I received this e-book for free to read and review The Lauras by author Sara Taylor. This is the first book I have read by author Sara Taylor. This book was not a favorite of mine, I wanted to quit a quarter of the way through but once I start a book I finish it no matter what. The book did get better halfway through but not by much. I thought it was wordy and over explained somethings. I understand the point of the book, but thought it was very drawn out. At times subjects or events were over explained to the point it was boring and dull. I do think the mother and child did bond, which is part of what the book is about. I think another part of the book was self discovery for the child(Alex). I think the self discovery was started but not really finished and I think in periods of the self discovery especially in the beginning  there was to much talk about the child self discovery. If you our a reader with an open mind about a lot of things then this book would be for you.
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The Lauras is a fine work of literature that combines coming of age with a mother's journey. Taylor's writing exposes the very heart of the matter which is sometimes not clear at all. 
It is an absorbing read, I will pass it along and probably read it again.
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The Lauras follows the journey of a mother a child across the US. Alex is 14 and not sure why they left home and Dad are traveling. Alex doesn't even know where they are going or when they might go home. It is a story about growing up, about the relationships we have with our parents as we begin to see that they had lives before us. The authors does a beautiful job with these topics and these characters. The topic of gender nonconformity is also handled with a naturalness that I found touching. Overall, I highly recommend.
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I can appreciate how this book might appeal to some, but it wasn't for me. I found it very slow, andnitmuchvto keep my interest
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I selected this book before realizing it's one I've looked into previously (another edition). My mistake and my apologies.
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Although I thought the book started out well enough the child and mother running away from home, it wasn't long before I found the story offensive.  I  will not be completing the story.
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This book was an interesting one. It's told from the point of view of young teen, Alex. Alex and mom are on the road and only Mom knows what the end goal is. During their trip Alex learns the stories of the Lauras that influenced Mom's life.
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Thirteen-year-old Alex is dragged out of bed in the middle of the night and has no idea where Ma is headed...or why. What ensues is a roller coaster ride of the best kind--a coming-of-age story for both of them perhaps. Stories emerge from the family's past and the reader begins to understand the journey is an important rite of passage. While I was often anxious for their travels to be over, at the end I realized there is a catharsis for the reader as well. This novel will resonate with me for a long time!
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Terrific read--nuanced and addictively compelling.
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Great road trip/ coming if age story. Quirky and interesting characters make this a fun read.
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