The Lives of Edie Pritchard
THE LIVES OF EDIE PRITCHARD was a change of pace for me. I’m not sure what drew me to it; released in July, it isn’t yet on the typical lists of women’s fiction. I found it to be unique, wonderful in many ways.
First, there is Edie Pritchard, a strong but beautiful woman who grows up in Montana in the 1960s, where men are more about owning a woman than truly loving her. Edie does not want to be owned. We see her at three points in her life, each twenty years apart and very different, as she recreates yet another life in her quest for fulfillment.
Second, there is the author, Larry Watson. Too often, male writers try to capture the woman’s mind and fail. This one succeeds. Edie’s needs come into focus for us over time, as they do for Edie herself. Mr. Watson understands this evolution.
Third, there is the writing. It is spare but evocative, understated but spot-on. The dialogue is natural and real, the portraits of Montana and South Dakota vivid, the dilemmas of the characters interesting and relatable. We’re talking family dynamics in isolated small towns. If there is a sameness to the men in this book, that was the author’s point.
So, here’s a question for you. I found the ending sad. The Edie the author creates is so determined to not depend on someone who might swallow her up that she denies herself the one man who has loved her forever. Moreover, we see history repeating itself in her daughter and granddaughter, the same mistakes made with possessive men. Should I take away a star because of the bleakness of this?
I decided not to. Another reader, one who isn’t quite the happy-ending junkie I am, might not mind the ending. Please read it and tell me whether you do or not.