A slow burn of a story as Ma’s story of the role played by the Lauras in her wanderings come to light.
The story is told retrospectively though Alex’s remembrances some 30 years after the events. Alex was 13 when the story starts, 16 when it ends, and we gradually learn about the important happenings that have caused Ma to set out now, across the USA by car, with all their belongings in the trunk.
We learn of Ma’s grandparents and parents and their problems and how that affected her. We learn of her feet that have always wanted to wander – as do Alex’s – since she was a small child, and the many attempts she made to set off into the far blue yonder. And how she encountered the Lauras along the way.
We also discover that Ma’s sexual preferences have been confused since she was young – or perhaps she was bi-sexual – and that Alex prefers not to identify with any gender ( not trans, but rather no gender preference).
I was initially inclined to give this road trip novel a 5 star ranking but then decided 4 was more appropriate. Why didn’t Alex make more of a fuss when forced to eat granola all the time rather than real food, or be hungry, cold and dirty without proper toilets and without a bed? My own experiences of bringing up both a teenage boy and girl is that the boy was always hungry and a bear when not fed, and the girl needed comfort and proper bathroom. So neither would like a 3 year long road trip! So Alex comes over as rather an improbable character.
That said, I liked the writing style and the slow unfolding of Ma’s stories and life experiences.