BOOK TITLE: Woman No. 17
BOOK AUTHOR: Edan Lepucki
PUBLISHER: Hogarth Press |
May 9th 2017
GENRES: Literary Fiction
CHECK IT OUT AT: Goodreads
BUY IT: Buy on Amazon
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.
I read Woman No. 17 last spring. In looking at my To Be Reviewed list, I was very surprised to realize I hadn’t written a review! I was sure I had written my thoughts on Edan Lepucki’s take on mothers and daughters, I could even remember what I planned to write. It was a powerful book at a time in my life when mothers were on my mind.
And then I remembered why it hadn’t been written. Because it was about mothers and daughters.
It was just too hard to write it. Too emotionally draining.
See, I was going to write a Mother’s day post about Woman No. 17. But sitting down to write that post brought tears, and I was tired of crying. I wanted my memories without the emotional exhaustion of mourning.
Losing a mother is hard on so many levels.
Any way, thoughts on Woman No. 17.
Like I said, this book hit me hard on so many levels. As a mother, as a daughter who just lost her mother. As a woman.
I identified with both of these women. Both trying to figure out the lives of their mothers, and why they did the things they did.
Although Lady is very flawed and selfish, I understood her up to a point. Being a mother is hard, and, when you’re child is young, it takes over your whole identity. Lady, though, never really takes the time as an adult to find an identity, and, in writing her memoirs, she remembers her favorite version of herself.
S is different but similar. Young enough to still have time to find herself, she decides to take the time to decode her mother. S finds that it’s not so easy, and learns a lesson that took me YEARS to learn: the woman you know as mother is so much more. The flaws we grew up with and remember in our mothers are only part of who they are and were. They had whole lives before us — and sometimes being a mother is hard and difficult, isolating and lonely.
Sometimes it’s hard to know if you’re making mistakes as a mother. Usually you’re winging it, hoping for the best. You never know if you made the right decisions until your child is older, and then it’s too late.
So, although both Lady and S are incredibly flawed and making mistakes at nearly every turn, I understood them. I still wanted to shake them, but I was sympathetic.
Woman No. 17 is a book meant for book discussions, and is perfect for book clubs (or at least my book club). It’s one of those stories that causes different reactions depending on the reader, making it perfect for loud, rowdy book debates — the best kind!