G. Bianco, 2019
In his newest book, acclaimed novelist Larry Watson, takes a reader through the decades of one woman’s life and her attempts to navigate life on her own terms. The Lives of Edie Pritchard, which comes out on July 21st, simultaneously shows the simplicity of humans and the complexities of everyday life through three moments in Edie’s life.
Edie—smart, self‑assured, beautiful—always worked hard. She worked as a teller at a bank, she worked to save her first marriage, and later, she worked to raise her daughter even as her second marriage came apart. Really, Edie just wanted a good life, but everywhere she turned, her looks defined her. Two brothers fought over her. Her second husband became unreasonably possessive and jealous. Her daughter resented her. And now, as a grandmother, Edie finds herself harassed by a younger man. It’s been a lifetime of proving that she is allowed to exist in her own sphere. The Lives of Edie Pritchard tells the story of one woman just trying to be herself, even as multiple men attempt to categorize and own her.
This novel is simple in its delivery, but also shows depth in the way these three portions of Edie’s life parallel and intersect one another. This story is not just about one woman: it is about relationships and how they get built up and time down over the years. It also examines all of these things happen within one small town and how the perceptions of a community can influence an individual.
Even though there are no chapters in the book (only three parts), it allows for the reader to be even more sucked in to Edie’s life and what makes these three moments in time so important. That’s the other thing about this novel: we only get to see Edie at three points in her life. While some characters give clues as to what transpired in the gap years we don’t get to read about, the focus remains solely on living life in the present. Roy and Dean try to hold tight to what they had years ago yet Edie is always looking forward. None of them make an effort to live in the moment and be defined by who they are currently, as opposed to who they were in the past. Watson forces the reader to pass judgement on these characters and develop opinions on them while only seeing a small part of the whole picture, which I think is the point. This close examination really forces the reader to analyze what it means to be a good or bad person and how to live life in your own way when others constantly expect something else from you.
Filled with rich and complex characters, Watson has developed a story that will suck you in and be grateful for the little moments in life. Timeless, engaging, and real, The Lives of Edie Pritchard is a must-read!
*I received an ARC from Algonquin Books in exchange for my honest opinion.
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