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Woman No. 17 by Edan Lepucki

Woman No. 17

by Edan Lepucki

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I won a copy of Woman No. 17 from Librarything's early review giveaway.
What an odd, darkly funny book! I loved it; very different from a lot of what I've read lately. Lady Daniels is a 40 something mother who has recently separated from her husband Karl and is trying to write a memoir centering on her life with her 18 year old son Seth. Seth, fathered by Marco from a previous relationship, is selectively mute. Lady is having writer's block and believes that if she can hire a live-in sitter to look after her 2 1/2 year old Devin she will have the alone time she needs to get the book written. Enter "S" (previously known as Esther),a recent college graduate who has decided to embark on an art/performance project where she becomes a younger version of her alcoholic mother. "S" babysits Devin during the day and pursues her "art" at night. Woman No. 17 explores the complicated relationships of these two woman with each other, their mothers and with Lady's son Seth. I found the story and the relationships so interesting that it didn't bother me that I didn't especially relate to or like the two main characters. At times awkward and weird, this novel definitely felt real. ( )
  kremsa | Mar 18, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Though Lepucki is definitely a skilled writer, I had a very hard time getting through this book. It might be that this is a 21st century book, culture-wise, and I have a 20th-century mentality. I could warm up only to S, and I understood Seth's anger, but Lady's lifestyle turned me off, especially the drinking and what i thought of as a kind of general carelessness. In other words, this book was just not my cup of tea. ( )
  LindaRogers | Mar 14, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Lady is a mother of two, recently separated from her husband and in search of a nanny for her preschool aged son. Her oldest son is a troubled teenager who has been mute since he was a young child. Esther "S" is a young performance artist in need of a job and an outlet for her art. Esther's newest project is to become her mother at a young age by dressing like her and recreating her emerging alcoholic lifestyle. After "auditioning" for the nanny position and accepting it, Esther tries to balance living the facade of her project while growing attached to Lady and her children. Both Esther and Lady have a history of complicated and painful mother relationships and as they grow closer, their pasts resurface as both try to redefine themselves apart from their mothers.

This was a strange and complicated story which seemed unrealistic due to all of the atypical elements at play. However, the author was able to create a climate for the story that seemed real and the story moved at a good pace. Despite the complexity of the characters, each with unlikable traits, I found myself wrapped up in their lives and wondering how it would all end. Overall, not a bad novel and not one to be easily forgotten due to the original storyline and strange elements. ( )
  voracious | Mar 14, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I received a copy of this in an Early Reviewer's giveaway. Woman No. 17 was an odd and interesting read about communication, family, knowing ourselves, and each other, and following our dreams. At times it almost reminded me of the SNL skit "The Californians" in some of the descriptions and interactions. I'll look forward to reading more by this author. ( )
  rachelp1985 | Mar 13, 2017 |
Woman no 17 is an odd little book - as much about art making as anything else. A mother hires a young woman to take care of her toddler. Also in the house is her teenage son from a previous marriage who has selective mutism - or is a selective mute - not sure what the right way to describe that would be. Both women have very complex relationships with their mothers and the nanny is pursuing a creative project in which she impersonates her mother as a teenager, right down to the hair, clothes, and makeup (as well as the drinking) and then documents the results. It's complicated, funny, and kind of weird, the kind of story where all the characters work their way into a muddle and then the jig is up, so everyone has to work their way out of it as well. As farcical as it is - and it is - it is also very believable.

Thank you so much to LT for the opportunity to be an Early Reviewer. ( )
  laurenbufferd | Mar 10, 2017 |
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