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 Ma and Alex make their way from Virginia to California, each new state prompts stories and secrets of a life before Alex. Together they put to rest unsettled scores, heal old wounds, and search out lost friends. But Alex can’t forget the life they’ve left behind.
The Laura’s is a bit like a hazy humid summer day, not in any rush and quite heavy at times but something you can’t help but immerse yourself in. This is a book though that I think you have to be in a particular mindset to read as it is slow going, if you’re looking for a fast paced novel then look elsewhere, but what this book does is take you on an exploration and it’s really rewarding.
There were stories that she couldn’t tell. Everyone has them; most people pretend that they’ve been forgotten…There were stories that moved behind her eyes that she hadn’t told me, that she couldn’t tell me because the words to get them out just didn’t exist… But they were her stories, and if she told them it was her right to decide when and who and how.
The story is about Ma’s journey of which Alex is along for the ride. As they travel across America to different destinations starred on Ma’s map, she starts to reveal why they are heading in that direction. Usually to see someone or do something, each time revealing a part of Ma’s past that Alex hasn’t been privy to before.
With every journey, you learn more about Alex and Ma. We get to see where Ma has come from and how her younger years have shaped the person she is now. You see as Alex starts to grow from a child into an adult, become more comfortable in themself, starts to push boundaries and is opened to new experiences. Which in essence is what this book is, a journey to discover yourself and it is wonderful to read.
However, I feel like even though I was enjoying hearing from Ma and why she was returning to these places I was far more enamored with Alex and I would have been interested to hear even more about Alex.
Out of the dark, foaming ocean a sun was rising, massive and red. It balanced on the black line of the horizon and spilled its blood across the sky, tore the scudding clouds with pink and caked the wet sand, and for a moment I wondered if, in the course of my sleeping, we’d made it to the end of the world, where the sun rose out of the ocean like a newborn thing in the way I’d always imagined seeing but never had.
For me this book isn’t so much plot focused, there is a plot but it feels like the main thing that the author is trying to get across is the experience of the book, what we can draw from Alex’s observations and how it makes us think and feel rather than just what’s going on.
The writing is beautiful, the kind that evokes amazing imagery so you are able to easily imagine any of their surroundings. It flows very well even with the story switching between Alex in the present, Alex’s recollections of the trip and telling Ma’s stories. Even the little details seem to come to life in this author’s style.
The Laura’s is a wonderful book that makes you feel, I can’t specify what because I think it’ll be different for each reader but it’s one that has stuck with me since reading it.
Thank you to Random House UK and Netgalley for the review copy of this book.