Written by Edan Lepucki
Review written by Diana Iozzia
In the beginning of “Woman No. 17”, I found myself developing a serious love-hate relationship with this book. As I continued on, it mainly became the latter. This book screamed at me: “mysterious, sexy, sinister, noir”, but I was left with “whiny, alcoholic, sad, and slightly pathetic”, but this wasn’t a good thing. Sometimes, when I read books that claim to be all of the things this book does, I can be pleasantly surprised when the book turns out to be different and better than the description. For example, “The Roanoke Girls” by Amy Engel was very similar to the good side of what you weren’t expecting.
This reminds me of a Sunset Boulevard pathetic vibe, but mixed with a “these people need to grow up and stop acting like 15 year olds” 90210 vibe. We read about S (Esther) an artist who becomes a nanny for a divorced mother who only likes one of her children. Imagine how creepy and sinister this could be? Nope. S and Lady are 22 and 40 respectively, but they act like thirteen year olds. They drink excessively and don’t properly take care of the child. Lady’s older son is mute and has a sexual relationship with S, the nanny, which is a borderline-interesting relationship at best.
Lady struggles to understand her feelings after her divorce. I think the most interesting thing about this book is that Lady and S mirror each other well. I think this is a summer, read-in-your-beach-chair novel at best. This is in no way as dramatic and sinister and interesting as I had hoped it would be. This was a serious let-down, unfortunately.
I received this book as a complementary reader’s copy from Blogging For Books.