Jan 22, 2016

Review: Under the Influence by Joyce Maynard

Under the Influence by Joyce Maynard, to be released February 23, 2016 by William Morrow, contemporary fiction. This review may contain a few "spoilers."

Helen has lost her husband, and because of a DUI conviction, also loses her young son to her ex-husband and his new wife. She is "saved" from despair and alcoholism after meeting Ava and Swift, a wealthy and generous couple who give her a job photographing their extensive art and items in their impressive home, and who become Helen's life and best friends now that she is a single mom who only gets to see her son Ollie occasionally. 

Swift becomes a good influence on Ollie, teaches him to swim, and encourages him to want to spend more time with his mother Helen. In the meantime Helen is busy with projects Ava wants her to help with. But something happens to question the true nature of Helen's new friends and patrons.

The title, Under the Influence, seems to refer to two things: Helen's initial dependence on alcohol and later on, her dependence for her livelihood on her persuasive and wealthy new friends, Ava and Swift. 

The plot reminds me a bit of Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, pointing a finger at a group of wealthy people who might do anything to protect themselves and maintain their status quo.

Thanks to the publisher for an ARC of the book for review. 


(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I enjoyed this one and posted my review yesterday. Love how she writes.

Harvee said...

I haven't read her other books but will be looking for them!

Suko said...

Harvee, I'm definitely interested in reading a novel by Joyce Maynard--maybe this one. Thanks for your concise review.

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