aimee dars reads

Edie Pritchard Tries to Live Beyond Others’ Expectations in Larry Watson’s New Novel

{Blog Tour and Book Review}

Thank you so much to Algonquin Books for sending me an advance reading copy of The Lives of Edie Pritchard by Larry Watson, beautiful both inside and out!

Growing up in Montana, Edie Pritchard wanted to be seen for herself, but her beauty and body created a barrier that made people think they knew her even if they’d never met while the men in her life were more concerned about marking their claim than understanding her. She married out of high school to Dean Linderman, twin to Roy. The two always seem to be battling over her, and even her poignant attempts to recapture Dean’s attention fail. Later, Gary Dunn, husband number two, is at first charming and outgoing, but reveals himself as a jealous and controlling mate. Despite her unhappiness, Edie has to juggle her own needs with those of her teenage daughter’s. Finally, in her late sixties, Edie, living alone, finds peace and comfort in her routine, but the arrival of her granddaughter, Lauren, along with her boyfriend and his brother, upends her tranquility as she has to negotiate not only for Lauren’s safety but her own.

Edie spends a lifetime spurning unwanted attention while craving authentic connection—which she finds in the unlikeliest of places. Cars and road trips occur as a repeating motif. On the one hand, this is an appropriate metaphor for the progression of Edie’s lives. On another level, Watson’s writing is propulsive: in each of the three sections of the book, he slowly builds the tension and dread, the holes and possibilities, all focusing on the question “Can Edie be herself instead of what others want or need her to be?”

I highly recommend this for readers who enjoy literary fiction or character-driven novels. (And if you haven’t read Watson’s book Montana 1948, add that to your TBR, too!)