I would never have picked this book up on my own, but I’m glad I stumbled upon this read.
Mothers and Other Strangers looks at the relationship between mothers and daughters in a new and interesting way. Elsie is the only child of a narcissist mother with a compulsive lying issue. We start the story at the end, when Elise is called back to her hometown to find that her mother died of a heart attack. Elise has had a less-than-healthy relationship with her mother at any point in her life, but her world gets turned on its head when someone begins following Elise around, and the debt collectors start calling.
The book has an interesting structure, starting us with the death of Elsie’s mother, and leading us on a pseudo-mystery of the life Elsie thought her mother led versus the life she actually led. Told in the first person, we both learn alongside Elise and also infer things that Elise sometimes misses. Even though Elise is a woman in her forties, this is really a coming-of-age and coming-to-terms tale in which a woman who felt so estranged from her mother, and in turn feels estranged from herself, finds her way back home to her own independence.
The book is well written, well plotted, and structured beautifully. It deals with timely issues and Elsie’s character arc is an enjoyable ride.