The Blonde Bookworm: Laura & Emma by Kate Greathead -- Review

Laura & Emma by Kate Greathead -- Review

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Title: Laura & Emma 
Author: Kate Greathead 
Pages: 337 
Publishing: March 13th 2018 by Simon Schuster
ISBN: 9781501156601


Laura hails from the Upper East Side of Manhattan, born into old money, drifting aimlessly into her early thirties. One weekend in 1981 she meets Jefferson. The two sleep together. He vanishes. And Laura realizes she’s pregnant.

Enter: Emma.

Despite her progressive values, Laura raises Emma by herself in the same blue-blood world of private schools and summer homes she grew up in, buoyed by a host of indelible characters, including her eccentric mother, who informs her society friends and Emma herself that she was fathered by a Swedish sperm donor; her brother, whose childhood stutter reappears in the presence of their forbidding father; an exceptionally kind male pediatrician; and her overbearing best friend, whose life has followed the Park Avenue script in every way except for childbearing. Meanwhile, the apple falls far from the tree with Emma, who begins to question her environment in a way her mother never could.

Told in vignettes that mine the profound from the mundane, with meditations on everything from sex and death to insomnia and the catharsis of crying on the subway, a textured portrait emerges of a woman struggling to understand herself, her daughter, and the changing landscape of New York City in the eighties and nineties. Laura & Emma is an acutely insightful exploration of class and family warfare from a new author whose offbeat sensibility, understated wit, and stylish prose celebrate the comedy and pathos that make us human.


Laura is a single mother in NYC who comes from a good bit of money. She's the "Plain Jane" type and doesn't seem to get too excited about many things. After a random one night stand, Laura becomes pregnant with Emma. The novel continues with the story of Laura and Emma's lives and the ups and downs they experience together. I really thought this novel was going to be amazing because other readers said it was similar to Gilmore Girls, but it fell a little flat for me. 

There were definitely some fun and hilarious moments, but I thought Laura's character was pretty bland and I also wasn't too crazy about her relationship with her daughter. They didn't seem all that close to me and I thought the whole novel just had a sad feeling to it. There were some definite character positives, I loved Laura's mother and I thought Emma was pretty charming the more we got to know her. 

All in all, I thought Laura & Emma was a little slow and boring. I felt like the novel didn't really have much of a direction and the ending left me wanted something more. This novel was not my typical read, so I don't want to judge too harshly as I think there are a lot of people who would really enjoy this read. I would recommend this novel if you enjoy contemporary women's fiction. 

Thank you to Simon and Schuster and NetGalley for sending this novel in exchange for an honest review. 

Rating: 3/5


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