Everyone in this book is an ordinary person, people you can recognize and relate to easily. The first part takes place in the world of the late 1960’s and that era is faultlessly portrayed in a way that I instantly recognized. That was us, back then. She’s pretty and popular, but she passes on the football players and class presidents and chooses a quiet, gentle man to love. They marry young, right out of high school. Problem is, his brother, a fraternal twin, loves Edie, too, and always has. He’s always after Edie, in subtle and not so subtle ways. The twins are very close, and Edie’s husband doesn’t seem to notice his charming brother’s ongoing campaign to get Edie into his bed.
The novel is divided into three parts. The second part takes place in the late 80’s at the end of Edie’s second marriage. She’s torn between providing a stable life for her teenage daughter and escaping a husband who has turned possessive and violent. In the third part we see Edie as a grandmother in her 60’s, contentedly living on her own, until her granddaughter shows up with her boyfriend and his brother, all broke and needing a place to stay.
There are two concurrent themes. The first is Edie’s struggle to find herself as a complete person, not just the vision men see and want from her. The second theme is the never ending conflict between mothers and daughters. We can never live up to what our mother wants for us. And we can never prevent our daughters from repeating our own mistakes.
I read an advance galley. The Lives of Edie Pritchard publishes July 7, 2020.