Crown Publishing was so sweet to send me a copy of Woman No. 17 by Edan Lepucki. This was the first book of Edan’s that I have ever read, but I do own a copy of California (which I plan to pick up as soon as possible). The cover really got me, I think the colors are so gorgeous, and it looks like a mix between modern and 70’s style artwork. The content of the book was no different, it was also a mix of different ideas, and views into the characters minds.
Lady lives in LA with her two year old son, Devin, and her eighteen year old son, Seth. While working on her next big novel, she has decided to hire a live-in nanny so that she can focus solely on her work. That’s when we meet Esther, or S. All seems to be going well between S. and Devin, they get along like gangbusters, and S. even seems to get along with Seth, who is a selective mute. Though S. seems to be a good nanny, she is also somewhat of a performance artist, who uses her alone time to “become her mother” in a sense. When she’s off duty, she consumes way too much alcohol and attempts dangerous things.
While Lady is creating her novel, she is also trying to find herself. Being a mom for so long has sort of dampened her view of herself as a person. S. is trying to figure out who she wants to be, and between the two women, a friendship grows. Now, secrets are shared, and lies are exposed. It’s a real whirlwind of a relationship. Both of these women have had to deal with relationship issues with their mothers, and fall outs with their boyfriends and husbands. You can see how these two are exactly alike, yet so much different. Neither wants to admit that she isn’t exactly happy in her role, but instead will manipulate reality in order to keep that facade going.
This book had it’s moments of being really good, and had me 100% focused on the story. Then, it seemed to dip away from the plot and more into off-chutes that I didn’t really care about, nor did I have any interest in. I felt myself skimming through those to try and get back to the nitty gritty of the story. If it wasn’t for those pages, this would have been a 5 star book. Getting into the psyche of these women and learning about all of the things that create such complex characters was a stunner. This summer, I have a feeling this book is going to be on a lot of TBR lists! I give this one 4 out of 5 stars.