Laura & Emma by Kate Greathead

Laura & Emma by Kate Greathead

Laura & Emma.jpg

Laura & Emma
by Kate Greathead
Simon & Schuster (March 13, 2018)
337 pages
Advance copy provided by publisher

It's no secret that I'm a sucker for debut novels; I also really enjoy novels that are organized in vignettes, a style that is not often utilized but, when done well, can be very pleasing. When I heard that Laura & Emma had been recommended to fans of Gilmore Girls and Ladybird, and is set in the 1980s and 90s, I couldn't resist! 

In 1981, and in her early 30s, Laura discovers that a rare sexual encounter has left her with child; she considers abortion, decides against it, and readers are introduced to Emma. Laura's parents are supportive, though surprised, and go to great measures to ensure that Laura is able to adequately provide for this new member of their family. 

Over the years, when meeting her mother’s friends, Laura was aware that she was not what they expected, perhaps a disappointment, and it made her feel bad about herself.

While this story could have taken a more serious turn, it does not; in fact, it's quite hilarious. Laura is rather quirky (think The Rosie Project or Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine), but not damaged; the cast of characters around her provide a heartwarming supporting cast and this is where I find the most appropriate comparison to Gilmore Girls.

Among the misperceptions others had about Laura was that she was oblivious to her looks. This was largely due to the simplicity of her wardrobe. To work she wore a white turtleneck, one of three rotating Laura Ashley skirts, and a pair of Frye cowboy boots.

Laura's mother, Bibs, is a big supporter of the local private academy Laura attended, The Winthrop School, and pushes for Emma's enrollment; everything there is referred to as "the Winthrop way." While Laura is not hesitant to enjoy the benefits of her family's financial success, she never takes advantage or does anything extreme; she is always very practical and Greathead uses this trait as a tool to develop Emma into the independent young woman she becomes, throughout the novel. 

It wasn’t about cool versus uncool, pretty versus ugly, funny versus boring, or even happy versus sad, but goodness - goodness versus everything else that might not seem bad, but wasn’t good either. To do good things, to be a good person: this was all that really counted.

I'll admit that Laura & Emma is a little tough for me to describe; however, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel! I read it quickly, eager to hear more and learn what would happen to both of these beautifully-written, unique characters; Greathead definitely has a talent for authentic, relatable storytelling and I hope this debut receives all of the attention it deserves. 

 

 

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