Author: Edan Lepucki
Publisher: Hogarth Publishing
Type of book: motherhood, fatherhood, families, complex relationships, mutism, speech, art, filming, drinking, comedy, humor, modern times, California, friendship, acting, secrets parenting, selfishness
Year it was published: 2017
A sinister, sexy noir about art, motherhood, and the intensity of female friendships, set in the posh hills above Los Angeles, from the New York Times bestselling author of California.
High in the Hollywood Hills, writer Lady Daniels has decided to take a break from her husband. She’s going to need a hand with her young son if she’s ever going to finish her memoir. In comes S., a magnetic young artist, who will live in the secluded guest house out back, care for Lady’s young toddler son, and keep a watchful eye on her older, teenage, one. S. performs her day job beautifully, quickly drawing the entire family into her orbit, and becoming a confidante for Lady. But as the summer wears on, S.’s connection to Lady’s older son takes a disturbing, and possibly destructive, turn. Lady and S. will move closer to one another as they both threaten to harm the things they hold most dear. Darkly comic, twisty and tense, this mesmerizing new novel defies expectation and proves Edan Lepucki to be one of the most talented and exciting voices of her generation.
Pearl "Lady" has numerous issues growing up, which is barely talked about in the story. (Only mention that her mother seemed to treat her as a possession and often gave her father wrong times on purpose to pick her up.) Pearl also has two sons fathered by two different men; her eldest, Seth, is eighteen and is a mute, while her youngest, Devin, is a toddler and a polar opposite of Seth. She is extremely selfish and seems want to cling on to what has been rather than the future. Esther (S) is a twenty-two year old woman who is an artist and she is attempting to recreate her mother's experience during a nanny job and to get away from some stuff on her own. Marco is Lady's lover and father to Seth. He is Serbian, extremely cheap, and isn't very paternal. Karl is Lady's husband who is a true father to Seth as well as Devin. He is also extremely in love with Lady and is confused by the changes. There is also Steve, Esther's father who is very close to his daughter and worries too much about her when she doesn't text to his silly things.
Life is complex
The story is in first person narrative from Lady's and Esther (S)'s points of view told in alternating chapters. The women and the setting and relationships are very complex and even now I am still unable to untangle them.There is lots of bonding, alcohol drinking both by S as well as Lady, and spilling of some fascinating and shocking secrets. I also feel as if I am missing out on the humor in the book and simply saw the story as serious instead of hilarious. The story covers a lot of ground which includes relationships between mothers and children, as well as fathers and children, art in a society, drinking, bonding and so forth. All of it is done well, but I think for a lot of people it will be controversial and a hit or miss novel.
(From the book)
Edan Lepucki is the New York Times bestselling author of the novel California, as well as the novella If You're Not Yet Like Me. A contributing editor and staff writer at The Millions, she has also published fiction and nonfiction in McSweeney's, the Lost Angeles Times, the New York Times, the Cut, and elsewhere. She is the founder of Writing Workshops Los Angeles
Okay, let's take a deep breath. I have no idea how to start this review. While reading the book, first of all I was reminded of a show called Weeds, which I've tried to watch but didn't really like. Thinking on that, I am reminded of Family Guy and how some people thought I would like it because I was into The Simpsons. Umm, wrong on both counts. I also kept on thinking about Oedipus Rex, and how this story, in fact, seemed to be from "Jocasta's" point of view. (Many of the Oedipal stories I read often focus on the son, not on the mother.) The story is a well-written train-wreck that I can't look away from. Mothers are women you detest in the novel who seem to treat children as possessions rather than seeing them as human beings, and they are more concerned with their own desires rather than those around them. I also think the story is meant to be funny, but I didn't find it funny. I'm not an alcohol drinker whatsoever and bonding over drinking is a foreign concept for me. Also, what I was rooting for didn't really occur.
This is for Blogging for Books
4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)