After a fierce fight with her husband decides Ma to wake up Alex and to leave their home in Virginia. The two of them go on a trip into the mother’s past. She has got a map on which stations of her life are marked. People she met, places she lived, events that shaped her life and character. During their trip, Ma tells Alex about the “Lauras” she has known. Her first real best friend, the girl from the foster home, her flatmate at college. They drive criss-cross through the states, sometimes they stop incidentally, sometimes the mother has a duty to fulfil or to settle an old bill. She accepts any job offered to make some money and to continue their journey. They actually do have a final destination, but it takes more than a year for Alex to finally understand where they are heading to.
Sara Taylors novel “The Lauras” is a mixture of genres. On the one hand, we have a classic road novel. Alex, the narrator, and Ma cross several state borders and stop here and there, meet people, leave them again, always on the run. On the other hand, it is a coming of age novel. Alex is only 13 in the beginning and hardly knows anything about the world. But most of all, Alex is struggling with her/his identity, sometime she feels like a girl, sometimes he is much more a boy. And thirdly, it is a novel about relationships, not just between parent and child, but also between grown-ups and how living on a limited space can change your bonds.
There is some lesson to be learned for Alex. In their encounter with Anna-Maria, it becomes obvious how your environment decides on your view of the world and the development. In a reclusive sectarian world, most of our world simply does not exist. Additionally, mistakes in your life can be corrected at a later point. And sometimes the journey is the reward, not the goal you are heading for or as Sara Taylor puts it: “I realized that what I felt was a sort of anti-homesickness, a sick-of-home homesickness, that home for me was a place I was going to, rather than a place I could occupy.” (Pos. 2935).