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Publisher's Summary

A tender, witty debut novel about a single mother raising her daughter among the upper crust of New York City society in the late 20th 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 30s. One weekend in 1981 she meets Jefferson. The two sleep together. He vanishes. And Laura realizes she's pregnant. 

Enter: Emma. 

Despite her progressive values, Laura raises Emma by herself in the same blue-blood world of private schools and summer homes she grew up in, buoyed by a host of indelible characters, including her eccentric mother, who informs her society friends and Emma herself that she was fathered by a Swedish sperm donor; her brother, whose childhood stutter reappears in the presence of their forbidding father; an exceptionally kind male pediatrician; and her overbearing best friend, whose life has followed the Park Avenue script in every way except for childbearing. Meanwhile, the apple falls far from the tree with Emma, who begins to question her environment in a way her mother never could. 

Told in vignettes that mine the profound from the mundane, with meditations on everything from sex and death to insomnia and the catharsis of crying on the subway, a textured portrait emerges of a woman struggling to understand herself, her daughter, and the changing landscape of New York City in the '80s and '90s. Laura & Emma is an acutely insightful exploration of class and family warfare from a new author whose offbeat sensibility, understated wit, and stylish prose celebrate the comedy and pathos that make us human. 

©2018 Kate Greathead (P)2018 Simon & Schuster

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

disappointing

Boring. Plot went nowhere. I wanted to like it, but I just couldn't. The performance may have made it worse.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Kept listening because the story was interesting

...and I loved the prose, but I didn't like any of the characters, though some were at least interesting and/or amusing.

Laura was a weird combo. Socially inept, asexual, sort of Aspergery, but would sometimes have insightful observations.

Emma was so whiney I could barely stand it. The audio performer made it worse. In the end (as an older teenager), I could relate to her. But by then it was too late.

And the ending? An unsatisfying ending can ruin a book you like. A book you only think is ok? I just shook my head. I don't mind ambiguous (which it was), but this ending was just plain...stupid.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Don’t bother

This book is about a woman with no personality and no life, surrounded by people much like her. There isn’t a character to care about or relate to. Very forgettable. It’s not worth the time.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Enjoyable but forgetful.

I listened to this book while I walked in the evenings. It was entertaining enough to get through it.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Not a great story.

Though the reader did as well as possible, characters too thin, relationships almost nonexistent, not much of an ending.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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Disappointed

Wow this story went no where. No character development. I was very disappointed with this pick.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Strange story, bad delivery

Didn’t find this story or the characters all that interesting. It takes place in an interesting time in history but otherwise, there isn’t much character development and the performance is disappointing. I was mostly bothered by the speakers “male” voices.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful vignettes that form a story arc

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Wonderful, entertaining, witty. Reminds me of Rules of Civility, very easy listening and insightful into the Upper East Side WASP world, and yet relevant to all. Some great phrases worth remembering.

What other book might you compare Laura & Emma to and why?

Rules of Civility, also witty and similar social set.

What does Madeleine Maby bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Perfect intonations of the characters in that milieu

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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Not worth your time or money

Off the wall, no ending, and no point. Get real. I write better than this drunk.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Worth the listen

At first the narrator's voice didnt seem to fit the book - she read very upbeat, matter of fact, and her voice is soothing, so I kept listening. The story kept pulling me in, because I was waiting to see what would happen next.... if anything would get resolved. I won't spoil it for you... but when I heard the narrator say "Laura & Emma was written by..." I couldn't believe the book was over! I am still thinking about the characters, even though we didn't get an in depth look at them... this seems more like real life with loose ends and all

0 of 1 people found this review helpful