Review from Arches alumni magazine, Autumn 2010
The Atlas of Love
Laurie Frankel, visiting professor of English
324 pages, hardcover
St. Martin’s Press
Laurie Frankel’s debut novel, The Atlas of Love, is about Jill, an English-literature graduate student who finds herself pregnant and single as the spring semester at her college comes to an end. Banding together with her friends Janey (the book’s narrator) and Katie, Jill plunges into an attempt to “tri-parent” her baby, Atlas. Other friends and parents step in to help, and the three young women find their lives changing in ways that are unnervingly mirrored in the pages of the literature they teach.
Set in Seattle, the novel is full of heart, sweet humor—and even a knowing look at life in academia—that combine to tell a story about youthful wisdom developing through struggle, and mature bonds arising from the sometimes harsh realities of family life. Through it all, Frankel treats her characters with surprising optimism. They get scared and confused and sometimes irrational, but they always confront life with reason. There are no antagonists in The Atlas of Love; just people trying to do their best.
Frankel teaches writing, literature, and gender studies at Puget Sound and is at work on her second novel.
— Kevin Nguyen ’09