No one, though, alienates Leah more than her mother, Helen. Estranged yet intertwined, they struggle within the confines of their personalities, unaware of how similar their paths are. Just when they seem at a lonely impasse, each makes an impulsive change—Leah taking a risky trip abroad, Helen renting a secret room in a welfare hotel. Jolted from their old patterns, the two of them independently glimpse the possibility of a more hopeful life.
Dylan Landis is a gifted portraitist of unforgettable female characters. Normal People Don’t Live Like This is a striking debut.