Amazing Grace Adams

Holt. Sept. 2023. 272p. ISBN 9781250857019. $27.99. F
DEBUT Tales of extraordinary women abound, but the title character of Littlewood’s first novel is a seemingly relatable everywoman. The timeline bounces around between Grace’s 20s, 30s, and 40s, and the story begins as she spends the day trying to deliver a birthday cake to Lotte, her estranged 16-year-old daughter. She abandons her car in gridlock and starts hoofing it, setting off on a deeply personal pilgrimage. Her journey takes her from the bakery where she ordered the overpriced cake to an incident with the police and other assorted encounters. Grace is obviously troubled, and her journey to her daughter is also one of insight into her own life. Perimenopause rears its head, divorce seems imminent, and unemployment contributes to what appears to be Grace’s break with reality, but it is all underscored by the worst tragedy a parent can face. Although the story seems inconsistent at times, it only enhances the surreality that is Grace’s life. Despite this, readers will root for her.
VERDICT An utterly charming debut, sure to appeal to those who loved Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine or Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple.
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