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The Lauras by Sara Taylor
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The Lauras

by Sara Taylor

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I love travel books, and that's what drew me to this book. Along with everybody else sure many people who reviewed it I found that it wasn't really a travel book. It was a mother search for identity. There were parts that I really enjoyed, but I found it disjointed, and I found 'not knowing the sex of the narrator -leaving it for me to guess, was troubling. After writing the review I went back and read others reviews, and found that I was not alone in my criticism. I however did enjoy the book for the best part. Thank you for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  Kikoa | Apr 19, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I got this book as an early review copy from Library Things Early Reviewer program so thanks for that. I wanted to love it, but I just didn't. This novel felt like it didn't know quite what it wanted to be - coming of age story, classic American road trip, portrait of a parent and child. But it doesn't go anywhere, despite the travels, and I found the narrator's refusal to state his or her gender ultimately very frustrating. Way too many unanswered questions and for a book about discovery, it really offered very little. ( )
  laurenbufferd | Apr 17, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I got this book as an early review copy from Library Things Early Reviewer program. I thought I would love it, but I didn't for some reason. The premise is all the things I love. Mom and kid take off in the night on a road trip and mom reveals in bits, through the path of the road trip and the people they meet, the story of her life. BUT -- it bothered me that the kid missed the dad so much and the mom didn't seem to care or worry about how that impacts a teen to just be ripped from their other parent like that? No apparent sympathy for that at all? And we never get any part of the story of why the dad deserved this kind of treatment. And, by the way, I keep saying "kid" and "teen" because at the beginning I assumed it was a girl teenager -- but somewhere in the book you realize that the teen is somewhat androgynous - keeps saying that it doesn't "have" a gender? And the mom agrees. I wanted to know more about that. But we never really get to know. It's name, of course, is Alex, which could be a girl or a boy. And the author, I guess, doesn't feel we deserve to really ever know, because the book ends without us knowing if the narrator is a girl or a boy -- we never get to know. I understand that gender issues are all the rage now, and I'm sympathetic to them, I'm not opposed. But I want to know MORE. But no. It was just unsatisfying for me all around. I liked the writing and the story -- I just wanted to know more than I got to know. I ended up knowing a little bit about a lot of things that I wanted to know a lot more about. So maybe less storylines, and more depth. ( )
  psychomamma | Apr 16, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The book begins with a road trip for a mother and her 13 yr. old son Alex. Not so much a road trip but just a walk-out-the-door leave after a argument with her husband. The boy has no say ....just get in the car. The story never really goes anywhere except a trip down memory lane for the mother and all the things she had been wanting to do for some time. I thought the book was sad, especially at the end for the boy. The least she could have done was let him get through the teen years with a father and then make his own decisions. ( )
  txwildflower | Apr 16, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I’ll be honest, I applied for this NetGalley early review copy because my name is Laura and I thought it would be funny to get a book called “The Lauras.” Sometimes I have a really goofy definition of self. I definitely did not factor in that I would enjoy this book so much. Like woah, I would even go so far as to say it’s one of my favorite books I’ve read this year, out of the 16 I’ve read so far. This is the third advanced reader copy I’ve received and the only one I’ve even rated above 3 stars, so this review is definitely not biased. I am honestly now interested in reading Taylor’s debut copy, because I enjoyed it so much.

This book is through Alex’s perspective, as s/he travels with their mother across the United States on a road trip of self-discovery and personal significance. In the beginning, I think Alex is around 13, and by the end they are maybe 16? It’s a first person narrative, showing you Alex’s ruminations on their traveling experiences and growing up. Alex gets to know their parent like few kids do, some good, and some bad. The story really resonated with me in the sense that I have a wandering spirit that I’ve never really fully realized. I get restless when I’m in a place for too long, but instead of taking epic trips of self-discovery, I take a weekend vacation to somewhere new. I have a job that keeps its claws firmly lodged in me, and the best I can do is vacationing here and there, and reading as much as I possibly can to escape.

I’m not one of those people who despises first person narratives, so it didn’t really bother me. But I did enjoy reading through Alex’s voice because they were so insightful and curious. Granted, the voice is pretty much the same from adolescence to young adulthood, but it’s a highly readable voice that experiences sexual curiosity, petulance of youth, and eventually a more concrete understanding of self and their parents.

THE VERDICT:
If I had to sum up the plot of this book, I would say that it’s largely a book of discovery: of self, of who your parent really is and was, and, ultimately, of the world around you. It was beautiful, and I found myself sitting in bed for hours at a time to read it. I would say that those who would enjoy this book are people with a wandering spirit, as well as those who are into a book of teenage self-discovery through the eyes of an atypical individual. It’s more of a journey than one with a true typical plotline full of excitement and heroics; you are privy to Alex’s ruminations and remembering of this time. ( )
  Lauraborealis | Apr 12, 2017 |
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