Review: Her

By Harriet Lane
(Little, Brown and Company, Hardcover, 9780316369879, January 5, 2015, 272pp.)

*No Spoilers*

The Short of It:

Two women at different stages in their lives, form an unlikely friendship that eventually leads to something darker.

The Rest of It:

Emma and Nina are close to one-another in age, but that is where the similarity stops. Nina is an accomplished artist with a teen-aged daughter while Emma is the mother of a toddler and a young baby. Nina is polished & sophisticated. Emma on the other hand, is riddled by the daily reminders of motherhood, the cluttered house, the unkempt hair, the dishes in the sink, and the boredom that fills her hours while other women are out having lunch with friends. The two women could not be more different, but when Nina recognizes Emma one day, she sets out to insert herself into Emma’s world and the two form an unlikely friendship with one another.

The story alternates between Emma and Nina and from the very first pages, I just knew that Nina was up to no good. That is actually made very clear from the start and that fact keeps the tension running high as you read about these women. And Emma, who is in awe of Nina and the sophistication she embodies is constantly trying to remember who she was before the kids. When Nina provides her with a much-needed break, Emma has this to say about herself:

I used to know this person, I used to understand her; maybe I’ll get to know her again.

Emma’s need to know Nina is tangible. She’s happily married, but trapped by the day-to-day routine and Nina’s friendship reminds her that there is a life outside of child rearing. But Nina’s motives aren’t entirely clear and so the reader is led along, knowing that something horrible is about to happen…or not.

Lane nails motherhood and that feeling you have when the baby spits up on your clean shirt and you decide to go to Target anyway. Some moms handle motherhood well and others do not. Emma falls between the two. She’s a good mom but tired and has let herself go. She misses her other self, the one that worked 9-5, had interesting conversations and could “do” lunch at a moment’s notice.

The last few pages of this book will make you angry. VERY angry. I won’t give it away but when I first read the ending, I wanted to hurl the book across the room. Now, after sitting on it for a day or two, I appreciate the ending a little more but I suspect that many of you will be angry with the book just because of the ending. Don’t ignore this book just because of the ending because it’s actually quite good and even, dare I say it, brilliant.

I don’t know what else Lane has written but I’d read her again.

Source: Sent to me by the publisher via Net Galley
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

16 thoughts on “Review: Her”

  1. I bought this book this past weekend at our new indie (I can’t go in there and not support her). I was a little nervous when you said you were so angry at the end, but I’m a little curious too. A little book-hurling is good for the soul.

  2. I took this book off of my TBR list after I read your comment about hating the ending. However, after reading your review of the book, I think I will still give it a go. I like brilliant reads 🙂

  3. This one is coming up on my stack very soon. I only skimmed your review and I know virtually nothing about it, but after reading what you think about the ending, it makes me wonder if the one woman decides to no longer be a mother. I guess I will just have to see if I am way off base!

  4. I have such a big problem with books with bad endings (or endings I don’t like). That’s the last feeling I walk away with and it pretty much drown all my other feelings about this book. The rest of the book makes it sound very good so I am going to try reading it anyways.

  5. I read Her while I was sitting at Middle Sister’s volleyball tournament today – all of it. The ending didn’t bother me so much, mostly because I don’t know how else Lane could have ended things. Do you think Emma knew eventually that she and Nina had a history?

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