Zibby. Apr. 2023. 7:39 hrs. ISBN 9781958506141. $15.99. F
Otis’s debut novel (after her short story collection Yes, Yes, Cherries) explores the intricacies of mother-daughter relationships with depth, humor, and sensitivity. Otis chronicles a mother and daughter’s episodic journey from Massachusetts to California, starting in 1979 and continuing through the 1990s. Single mother Charlotte does everything she can to support her daughter Viva. Still, Charlotte’s impulsive and addictive personality causes conflict and tension, often requiring the two to pick up stakes and move. While Viva once hoped to follow in her mother’s footsteps, she later wishes to be nothing like her. Even so, Viva’s driven nature echoes Charlotte’s headstrong personality—the two are more alike than they know. As the pair navigate instability and chaos, Otis adroitly delves into the mysterious yet magical bond between mothers and daughters—how they find themselves reflected in one another, and how they grow into different individuals with their own dreams and aspirations. Narrator Lisa Flanagan portrays the multitude of characters in the novel splendidly and imbues the narrative with an air of grace.
VERDICT A moving and relatable story; literary fiction fans will be pleased.
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