Thursday, January 10, 2013

Laura Moriarty

When Jason was home for six weeks after his surgery, he shared in the housework and schooling which gave me a lot of time to do my favorite thing in the world: get lost in good fiction.

Sarah over at Clover Lane recommended a book by Laura Moriarty and it sounded interesting, so I decided to check it out.  I am now hooked.  

I tend to read authors.  When I find a book I really like, I look for everything else the author has written.  It's fascinating to me to see the evolution of an author's writing...the writing in a first novel is often so different from the writing in subsequent novels and you can see the growth of the writer.

I can not say enough good things about Laura Moriarty.  The first book I read by her was The Center of Everything.  This book is about a girl who is exactly my age.  The story starts when she is young and Ronald Reagan is running for President and takes you all the way through her life until she is in college.  This book is layered and both deep and relational--just the way I like my novels to be!  The main character lives with her single rather unstable but sweet mother in a crappy apartment.  Her conservative Christian grandmother helps out a lot.  She has a crush on a juvenile delinquent boy who turns out to be so sweet and so messed up.  Everything takes place with a backdrop of politics of the time, so as you read you can remember what your life was like when say, the whole Jim and Tammy Faye Baker thing took place or the Iran-Contra hearings.

The Rest of Her Life is about a mom whose high school daughter accidentally kills another high schooler.  It's about the mother's relationship with her daughter and how she feels about what happened, her fears and concerns.  As a mom, I totally related to Leigh, the mom in the story.  I really enjoyed this book.

Laura Moriarty's third novel, While I'm Falling was about a girl that I related to so well--she's a pleaser, she wants to make everyone happy, sometimes at the expense of her own happiness.  She is in college, struggling through subjects she doesn't enjoy because she thinks it will make her parents happy if she becomes a doctor.  When her parents announce their divorce, she makes a series of life-changing bad decisions that are completely out of character for her.

Laura Moriarty's most recent novel is a historical novel.  The Chaperone takes place in Kansas and New York City in the 1920s.  It was fascinating for me to get a glimpse of what Manhattan may have been like when my Nauna came here in 1920.  The character explores the exact neighborhood where my Nauna was living at the time.  The glimpse into women's roles and expectations of women at the time, as well as the evolution of Cora was truly worth reading.