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Laura & Emma

3.20  ·  Rating details ·  3,001 ratings  ·  481 reviews
A tender, witty debut novel about a single mother raising her daughter among the upper crust of New York City society in the late twentieth century from a nine-time Moth StorySLAM champion.

Laura hails from the Upper East Side of Manhattan, born into old money, drifting aimlessly into her early thirties. One weekend in 1981 she meets Jefferson. The two sleep together. He va
Hardcover, 337 pages
Published March 13th 2018 by Simon Schuster
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Average rating 3.20  · 
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 ·  3,001 ratings  ·  481 reviews

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Amalia Gkavea
‘’You’re not supposed to cry when someone gives you a present.’’

Although I’m not actually a reader of what I call ‘’Family Conflict’’ novels, I cannot say ‘’no’’ to stories whose protagonists are single parents. I consider the women and men who decide to raise their children without a partner’s help, overcoming any social or financial obstacles, to be the bravest of the brave. When the novel is also set in New York, I’m bound to read it eagerly. And I was not disappointed.

The story centers a
Elyse  Walters
Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Kooky and Quirky are words that kept popping into my head as I read - and enjoyed
“Laura & Emma”......
with dialogue that included such sayings as “hippy-dippy”, “lousy-goosey”, and “hoity-toity”.
Don’t get me wrong - there ‘are’ plenty of serious themes in this novel ......but there are just so many wacky moments - that this novel becomes really comical.

Emma was born in 1981.....( the same year my first born child was born too)- but unlike Emma - our daughter was raised with a mom & dad.
Diane S ☔
Apr 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Nothing big happens in this novel. There are no big splashy scenes, no dramatic renderings, no horrific accidents, just the life lived of a young woman, Laura and her daughter Emma. Just life as it goes day by day, in all it's often messy glory. Laura comes from a very privileged background, and as much as she discards part of its trappings on one hand,on the other her job is owed to this background. As is part of her financial health and the monetary with all to buy the apartment she lives in a ...more
3.5 Stars

“Sometimes you picture me--
I'm walking too far ahead
You're calling to me, I can't hear
What you've said--
Then you say--go slow--
I fall behind--
The second hand unwinds

“If you're lost you can look--and you will find me
Time after time
If you fall I will catch you--I'll be waiting
Time after time”

-- Time After Time, Cyndi Lauper, Songwriters: Rob Hyman / Cyndi Lauper

Laura was raised in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, her parents themselves born into old money.
But Laura never really seems
Apr 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
A pensive, subtle story that provides us scenes in a life from the weighty to the commonplace.

I read a column recently where the writer extolled the virtues of memoirs of lives that exemplified the challenges and realities of our common, daily existence, those that didn’t face the extraordinary, but instead were about the decisions people have made before and millions will make again. That’s what this book of fiction aims to do and in that way delivers a textured portrait of a woman’s life over
Feb 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
What I loved most about this book, was the unexpected heroine, Laura. She is an unassuming woman who dresses plainly despite her beauty and avoids social gatherings. However, she takes delight in the fisherman’s gaze when she sunbathes topless. She spends an eight week summer vacation in Ashuant repeating this ritual, while the other extended family members play and socialize elsewhere. Each chapter in this book is filled with quirky, humanizing stories through which we get to know Laura so well ...more
Cindy Burnett
Jan 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Laura and Emma is a beautifully written book about the relationship between a mother and daughter, each an individual who marches to the beat of a different drummer. They are born into privilege in New York City’s Upper East Side, and Laura in particular struggles to separate herself from this life while still relying on aspects of this privilege. But the novel covers so much more – New York City in the 1980’s and 1990’s, the AIDS epidemic as it unfolds, and post-partum depression. Greathead has ...more
MaryBeth's Bookshelf
Feb 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, netgalley
Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What a beautiful debut novel from Kate Greathead! Laura and Kate deals with the relationship between a single mother and her headstrong daughter. Set in New York City during the 1980's and 1990's it is filled with stories of private education, summer houses, family ties, the AIDS epidemic, and trying to find one's place in the world. I loved that the story was told through a series of vigne
I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

DNF @ 20%

I wanted to like this book SO MUCH. I loved Gilmore Girls and when a book is being touted as comparable to it, I knew I had to have it. Unfortunately, I just could not connect with the writing style. On top of that, I was really hoping for a character deep dive, but everything seemed to just be skimming the surface. The vignette style of storytelling was just not for me and sadly, I must put this one aside.

If you are in
Irene Adam
Mar 13, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I received a free e-copy of this book and have chosen to write an honest and unbiased review. I have no personal affiliation with the author. I did not enjoy this book. This is the story of a single mother and her daughter as she becomes a young woman. The characters all seemed quite superficial to me. They lived a life of privilege that seemed to be without purpose and meaning. The ending was quite abrupt and confusing. There didn’t seem to be a point to the story.
Bam cooks the books ;-)
A delightfully fun, character-driven debut novel by Kate Greathead about Laura, a quirky young single mother, raising her daughter Emma in NYC.

But "life hadn't required Laura to navigate unknown territory on her own." She is a WASP descendant of one of the Robber Barons of old and works as an event planner at the museum that was once the private residence of her great-grandfather. The way in life has always been smoothed for her, even when it requires a few white lies: such as about the paterni
Sherri Thacker
This is a quirky little book that has short chapters which makes for quick reading. I really enjoyed this book and laughed out loud in many spots. This is Kate Greathead’s debut novel and I think she did a great job with it.

Thank you for this complimentary copy of this book from Simon & Schuster through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Jerrie (redwritinghood)
This book deals mainly with the relationships between mothers and daughters. The women in this book all come from old money in New York, so there’s also a lot about privilege here. The writing and characters are good, but in the end I was left thinking “so what?” There wasn’t anything at stake in the story and it seemed like the author had no idea how to end the story. 2.5⭐️
Catherine at The Gilmore Guide to Books
I requested Laura & Emma because it ticked every box in my ‘oh, this is going to be so good’ reading checklist. Debut? Check. Female author? Check. New York City? Check. Quirky female protagonist? Double check because she’s rich as well. The novel is the story of Laura, a young woman who comes from such wealth that after college she doesn’t even need to look for a job, she just goes to work at one of her family’s foundations in a job they create for her. After an unusual one night stand she’s pr ...more
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
APRIL #BELLETRISTBOOK is in! Laura hails from the Upper East Side of Manhattan, born into old money, drifting aimlessly into her early thirties. One weekend in 1981 she meets Jefferson. The two sleep together. He vanishes. And Laura realizes she’s pregnant. Enter: Emma....
We can’t wait for all our babes and beaus to read along! Our #belletristbookstore of the month Farley's Bookshop is offering the book at 20% off on their website using code ‘Belle20’!
Feb 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Laura & Emma by Kate Greathead follows the relationship between mothers and daughters, told in vignettes against the changing times between 1980 and 1995. It is a comedy of manners novel with loads of laugh out loud moments.

Laura comes from a wealthy New York City family descended, from a Robber Baron whose inherited wealth supports her. She has a degree in English and a job through the family. She envies self-made people.

Laura has never been in love. Her mother's favorite saying is that it does
Dec 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"Laura and Emma" is a beautiful and brave big book. From so many little miraculously interesting stories, something big emerges. And the writing! The writing is incredibly beautiful.

Kate Greathead is a wonderfully gifted storyteller. Each section–the book is divided by years–made me want to go on to the next. The only reason it took so long to read (a week) is that life, work, and fatigue got in the way.

I loved the story of Laura and Emma’s visit to Round Bush, Laura’s great grandfather’s estat
Mar 12, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A snore of a story set in the city that never sleeps.

It's as though the author talked wrote to hear her own voice. Told in vignettes by year, the story is really just copious descriptions of the minutiae in the life an uptown woman — whose daughter's upbringing paralleled mine, making me think I was its ideal audience.

The novel had been atop my 2018 Must List, and when it was available to Read Now, I jumped at the opportunity! Although the blurb had captured my interest, the book didn't. I aband
Janilyn Kocher
Jan 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
I couldn't connect with this book, I found the story dry and somewhat dull. None of the characters had depth. They just glided along the surface of the story. The ending was abrupt, leaving me asking What?? I honestly didn't care what happened to any of the characters, they were just devoid of emotion. Thanks to NetGalley for the advance copy. ...more
Lolly K Dandeneau
Jan 24, 2018 rated it liked it
via my blog:
'Laura was envious of others’ accounts of struggle, which were recalled with a certain fondness. It had been an adventure, the thrill of the hustle; they’d chased a dream against the odds, and now they were living it. She could only imagine the pride of being personally responsbile for everything one had- professional success, friends, apartment- and being able to trace all this back to hard work. Knowing that everything in their lives wasn’t a g
The Blonde Bookworm
Mar 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Laura is a single mother in NYC who comes from a good bit of money. She's the "Plain Jane" type and doesn't seem to get too excited about many things. After a random one night stand, Laura becomes pregnant with Emma. The novel continues with the story of Laura and Emma's lives and the ups and downs they experience together. I really thought this novel was going to be amazing because other readers said it was similar to Gilmore Girls, but it fell a little flat for me.

There were definitely some f
Mar 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Maybe I’m being a little more generous with my stars than usual, but this book felt inordinately special, charming, and completely took me by surprise with the big (but quiet?) feels it evoked. I wasn’t sure what to expect of it before reading, and even after finishing– it has left me puzzled as to how to truly characterize it.

I’d heard some pre-release buzz about this one being Gilmore-Girls-esque– and frankly, I think that does a disservice to what this story actually becomes. I’d go so far a
Feb 06, 2018 rated it liked it
I thought I would love this book as it was compared to The Gilmore Girls and was billed as the story of the relationship of a single mom and her daughter living in NYC. However, I did not. The main character Laura is just boring and while she does have some interesting observations about life, I never really "felt" the bond of her relationship with her daughter Emma.

The two standout characters to me are Laura's VERY old-moneyed mother who, was absolutely hysterical, and the city of NYC as seen t
♥ Marlene♥
Well I can say one thing about this book and that is that I tried. I really tried but I can't do it no more. I am not emotionally invested in the main characters at all and I do not care what they are doing or are going to do. What a bore. Now I am not someone who always needs to have action in my books but the characters were one dimensional and tedious.
No more!
Cathy Clemmons
Jun 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: book-club
The story seemed "all over the place" to me with no real point! I did not like or relate to any of the characters. Laura appeared spoiled and entitled. Thankful I did not buy it as I was fortunate enough to borrow from the library. ...more
Jul 08, 2018 rated it did not like it
Disappointing. What was the point? Characters has no personality. Emma was a brat. Laura was stupid. Nicholas was a jerk. Bibs is ridiculous. Doug a nothing man. Stephanie was probably the most interesting person and not a word about her. I want my life back.
Wendi Lee
Mar 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Laura is a single mother, hailing from a wealthy Upper East Side family, raising Emma during the 80's and 90's. We see vignettes of mother and daughter through the decades; and if I can be absolutely honest, I wish it had been more than just vignettes, which left me feeling removed from the characters. I started reading this thinking it might be a literary equivalent to Gilmore Girls, and while there are some similarities, especially with wealthy grandparents and single motherhood, this is its o ...more
Tara - Running 'n' Reading
Mar 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
It's no secret that I'm a sucker for debut novels; I also really enjoy novels that are organized in vignettes, a style that is not often utilized but, when done well, can be very pleasing. When I heard that Laura & Emma had been recommended to fans of Gilmore Girls and Ladybird, and is set in the 1980s and 90s, I couldn't resist!

In 1981, and in her early 30s, Laura discovers that a rare sexual encounter has left her with child; she considers abortion, decides against it, and readers are introdu
Jaclyn Crupi
Dec 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
There was a lot to love here and if you’re a Gilmore Girls fan this will feel comfortingly familiar: very wealthy young woman becomes a single mother and tries (but fails) to raise daughter differently to how she was raised. The grandmother stole the show for me which also made my Gilmore Girls heart happy. Ultimately though this is a novel for people who like keenly observed novels. It has a lot to say about wealth and privilege and it does so in quiet, clever and subtle ways. Greathead’s choic ...more
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Kate Greathead is the author of the novel Laura & Emma. A graduate of Wesleyan University and the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College, her writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, and Vanity Fair, and Moth Radio Hour. She was a subject in the American version of the British Up documentary series, and she lives in Brooklyn with her husband, the writer Teddy Wayne. ...more

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“Buck up. Fake it till you feel it. The show must go on. This was the way they did things - These people in the world she'd grown up in.” 2 likes
“The disparity of their desserts was beyond anything Emma could have imagined. Blinking back tears, she put a raisin in her mouth, chewed, and swallowed—repeating the process until the gross, sticky box was empty, her disgust rendered bearable by the feeling that struck in situations of unfairness: a feeling that her life was a movie and the audience was God, and a faith in knowing her grace and fortitude in this moment would not go unnoticed.” 0 likes
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