In Emma Straub witty, tropical fourth novel, members of a Hudson Valley family come to terms with adolescence, aging, sexuality, and gender. After 68-year-old widow Astrid Strick witnesses an acquaintance gets struck and killed by a bus in the center of Clapham, N.Y. , she feels compelled to come clean with her children about her new relationship with Birdie, the local hairdresser, before it’s too late ( there were always more school buses she reasons).
EMMA STRAUB – Astrid kids have their own issues to contend with. Thirty-seven-year-old Porter, pregnant via a ” stud farm” ( aka sperm bank), is having an affair with her old high school boyfriend, while Elliott, the oldest, is preoccupied with a hush-hush business proposal.
Despite Cecilia’s fear of not fitting in, she friendship with a boy who longs to be recognized as a girl but isn’t ready to come out as trans. As per usual, Emma Straub writing is heartfelt and earnest, without tripping over the edge. There are a lot of issues at play here( abortion, bullying, IVF, gender identity, sexual predator) that Emma Straub easily juggles, and her strong and flawed character carries the day. This affecting family saga packs plenty of punch.