Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ Free Shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
Under the Influence: A Novel Paperback – November 22, 2016
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
“Maynard’s latest is illuminating and mesmerizing, highlight not only differing definitions of friendship, but the shades of gray between right and wrong and the lengths to which some will go to protect their self-interest.” (Publishers Weekly)
“My to-do list had umpteen items on it, but I let them all go to hell as I tore through Joyce Maynard’s latest page-turner. . . . To-do list? What to-do list? Under the Influence is a riveting read.” (Wally Lamb)
“It’s a story about the pull of consuming friendships, of seeking to escape into the lives of others, of possession and illusion — and you will not be able to put it down until Maynard herself releases you. Utterly captivating.” (Megan Abbott, Edgar Award-winning author of Dare Me and The Fever)
From the Back Cover
When Helen meets Swift and Ava Havilland at an art gallery opening, her life is at an all-time low. A DUI conviction caused her to lose her driver’s license and custody of her eight-year-old son, Oliver. Now she sees Ollie on Saturdays, but he hasn’t forgiven his mother for messing up their life. She’s got a dead-end job and goes on occasional dates, but spends most evenings at AA meetings. The Havillands change all that.
Ava and Swift are wealthy, charismatic philanthropists who fill their home with valuable art, unlikely friends, and over-the-top parties. The Havillands quickly become the center of Helen’s world, as she takes on jobs for them and joins their glamorous inner circle. Then Helen meets Elliot—a quiet, uncool accountant the Havillands dismiss as boring. Helen might be falling in love with him, but her new best friends disapprove—and cause Helen to distrust her own heart.
Most compelling, for Helen, is what her friendship with the Havillands has meant to her relationship with her son. Ollie looks up to the larger-than-life man who treats him like a second son. And Swift has promised Helen the services of a high-powered attorney to help her regain custody. But when tragedy strikes, Helen and Ollie must pay up for the generosity of Helen’s new friends. Or pay dearly if they refuse.
Top customer reviews
The story leaves me thinking about the lives of people who cross our paths and even captivate us throughout life. Who is a real, true-blue friend? Who is not who he or she seems? And, are the lives that people show us on the surface the lives that they are really living? As the story moves along, I found later that I missed some particular plants that show up later and give me chills when the pieces come together.
Once I am half way through the book, I can't help but wonder how Joyce will turn the story on its side, but I know she will. I sense a major twist is coming, but what?
When it all comes together, I can't read fast enough.
As a writer myself, I know that it is important to end each chapter with a something special to keep the reader turning the pages -- a bit of special drama, a double-meaning, intrigue, a twist. I found that Joyce excelled at varying these techniques throughout the chapters and indeed, they kept me engaged. Bravo!
However, before I quit, a new character was introduced. An interesting man who was kind and intelligent! That caught my interest. I did finish the book to see what happened to this person. Fortunately Helens character did improve and the ending was good. But I regret all the time I spent reading about how generous and kind the couple were. It went on and on and on. Helen was an airhead for way too much of the story. The new character who came in about one third through and the last 20 percent of the book only changed my rating from 1
At this low point in her life, Ava and Swift Havilland enter Helen's life offering her friendship and a purpose as she works to maintain her sobriety. Ava and Swift are wealthy, generous, and have the kind of loving relationship Helen never had and wishes for herself. Throughout this story, which weaves themes of friendship, control, intimacy, family, and parenthood, you get the feeling that something is off about the Havillands and their life. It is this sense of unease which keeps you engaged and turning the pages. Though I was tempted to skip to the end to see how the story was resolved, I am glad to say I controlled myself. I am glad I did because the story unfolds at the appropriate pace.
I highly recommend this book and if you are new to Joyce Maynard and her writing then this is an excellent introduction to her works.