Laura & Emma

When I went to grab the image of this book for the review, I discovered a blurb for the book from Jonathan Franzen that makes me question whether he read the book, since he called it “a moving and intricately braided story of two mothers.” Mostly it’s a story about Laura, a WASPy New Yorker (7th generation) coasting through life on her family’s money who decides to keep the pregnancy she has with a one-night stand (the burglar who pretended to be her brother Nicholas’s friend from boarding school), and Emma, the daughter. Enjoyed the complex portrait of a woman who doesn’t need the same kind of relationships that everyone else seems to have (husband, or boyfriend, or even girlfriend). The other mother that Franzen references is Laura’s childhood friend Margaret, who can’t get pregnant and thus adopts, but at the end has a surprise mid-40s pregnancy. Margaret and Charlotte (her daughter) are fringe elements to Laura’s story, not substantial parts of a braided story. I appreciated the ending, Laura locked out on her snowy penthouse balcony spreading her mother’s ashes after many years, deciding to finally raise her voice and get her downstairs neighbor to let her in (after he kept the chairs he borrowed from her for many months).