“Wonderful! Leah and Helen are authentic, vulnerable characters, whose intimate truths are exposed at perfect, unexpected moments.”—Elizabeth StroutAt the center of this startling fiction debut is Leah Levinson, a teen at sea in the anonymous ordeals of a middle-class upbringing on the Upper West Side in the 1970s. In ten installments, written from varying perspectives, we witness her uneasy relationships with faster, looser peers—girls she is drawn to but also alienated by.
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.
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About the Author
Dylan Landis has published stories in Bomb, Tin House, Best American Nonrequired Reading, and elsewhere. A former journalist, she has won a Poets&Writers California Voices Award and other honors for her fiction. She lives in Washington, DC.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Normal People Don't Live Like This based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
I love this book. Grips you right from the start and puts you into the life of Leah, a troubled teenager dazzled by the fast and mean girls. It's set in Manhattan's upper west side in the 70s but it could be now. Has garnered amazing reviews (LA TImes). Heard Dylan read in NYC, where she was introduced by Elizabeth Strout, who said the most amazing things about the book. It lives up to the buzz! Highly recommended.
The writing in this book is skilled, but it's hard for me to like a book with New Yorkers who whine about their lives, so I made it through the book but didn't feel moved by it.
Dylan Landis is talented, smart, and savvy. Her writing is brilliant. Readers have to keep up because she expects you to in this story of Leah Levinson. This book will challenge you to hang on to the "ride" for dear life and keep up with what is going on in the story. Wonderfully written! It is one of my new top favorites of all time.