Under the Influence

Under the Influence The New York Times bestselling author of Labor Day and After Her returns with a poignant story about the true meaning and the true price of friendship Drinking cost Helen her marriage and custody of h

  • Title: Under the Influence
  • Author: Joyce Maynard
  • ISBN: 9780062257680
  • Page: 320
  • Format: Paperback
  • The New York Times bestselling author of Labor Day and After Her returns with a poignant story about the true meaning and the true price of friendship.Drinking cost Helen her marriage and custody of her seven year old son, Ollie Once an aspiring art photographer, she now makes ends meet taking portraits of school children and working for a caterer Recovering from her addThe New York Times bestselling author of Labor Day and After Her returns with a poignant story about the true meaning and the true price of friendship.Drinking cost Helen her marriage and custody of her seven year old son, Ollie Once an aspiring art photographer, she now makes ends meet taking portraits of school children and working for a caterer Recovering from her addiction, she spends lonely evenings checking out profiles on an online dating site Weekend visits with her son are awkward He s drifting away from her, fast.When she meets Ava and Swift Havilland, the vulnerable Helen is instantly enchanted Wealthy, connected philanthropists, they have their own charity devoted to rescuing dogs Their home is filled with fabulous friends, edgy art, and dazzling parties.Then Helen meets Elliott, a kind, quiet accountant who offers loyalty and love with none of her newfound friends fireworks To Swift and Ava, he s boring But even worse than that, he s unimpressed by them.As Helen increasingly falls under the Havillands influence running errands, doing random chores, questioning her relationship with Elliott Ava and Swift hold out the most seductive gift their influence and help to regain custody of her son But the debt Helen owes them is about to come due.Ollie witnesses an accident involving Swift, his grown son, and the daughter of the Havillands housekeeper With her young son s future in the balance, Helen must choose between the truth and the friends who have given her everything.

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      Published :2020-08-24T10:59:52+00:00

    About "Joyce Maynard"

    1. Joyce Maynard

      Joyce Maynard first came to national attention with the publication of her New York Times cover story An Eighteen Year Old Looks Back on Life in 1973, when she was a freshman at Yale Since then, she has been a reporter and columnist for The New York Times, a syndicated newspaper columnist whose Domestic Affairs column appeared in than fifty papers nationwide, a regular contributor to NPR Her writing has also been published in national magazines, including O, The Oprah Magazine Newsweek The New York Times Magazine Forbes Salon San Francisco Magazine, USA Weekly and many She has appeared on Good Morning America, The Today Show, CNN, Hardball with Chris Matthews, Charlie Rose, and on Fresh Air Essays of hers appear in numerous collections She has been a fellow at Yaddo, UCross, and The MacDowell Colony, where she wrote her most recently published novel, Labor Day.The author of many books of fiction and nonfiction, including the novel To Die For in which she also plays the role of Nicole Kidman s attorney and the bestselling memoir, At Home in the World, Maynard makes her home in Mill Valley, California Her novel, The Usual Rules a story about surviving loss has been a favorite of book club audiences of all ages, and was chosen by the American Library Association as one of the ten best books for young readers for 2003.Joyce Maynard also runs the Lake Atitlan Writing Workshop in Guatemala, founded in 2002.

    760 thoughts on “Under the Influence”

    1. UPDATE: $1.99 kindle special. — PAGE TURNING contemporary NOVEL - takes place in the SF Bay Area Update: With sad news.Joyce Maynard's husband died on June 16th. Jim had pancreatic cancer. He fought a very brave battle for almost 2 years. My heart goes out to Joyce. Joyce has been sharing touching memories of she and Jim from the days when they first met. The song "Book of Love" by Peter Gabriel, was sung at their wedding . Joyce's assistant and extra daughter --which says just how she felt ab [...]


    2. From the beginning this novel has an insidious tone of a disaster waiting to happen. Well written with a beguiling and mixed cast of characters, they represent many of the people we meet in our actual lives. A young mother who loses custody of her son and is struggling emotionally and financially. A wealthy couple who offer her friendship and support. A young boy trying to find his way between two homes and a man who wants to be part of Helen's life but is stymied by her new friendship. What is [...]


    3. Under the Influence got my attention from the beginning, and then it kept me reading – with an impending sense of dread. From the beginning, we know that something bad has happened in Helen’s life, and that it involves her former friend Ava. Helen catches a glimpse of Ada at an intersection. Helen hasn’t seen Ada for 10 years, but this sighting sets her off to recall the events leading up to the breakup of their friendship. Helen met Ada at a particularly low time in her life – she had r [...]


    4. As a child, Helen made up stories about her the two people responsible for her birth – her parents. Her father more often, where he was, what he did for a living. She viewed her home as a kind of hell; anyplace was better than there. Reading was her only solace. Stacks of library books under the covers of my bed: the thing that saved me.She grows older, wants only to not be like her parents; with no idea what she really does want. Falling in love. Falling for the illusion of love, she learns a [...]


    5. This was a very, very good book. I enjoyed it because the characters were so relatable - which is something I really value in a book. I was so invested in finding out what was going to happen. I hated having to go to work because that meant I couldn't read! That is a true sign of a wonderful book. This was the first book I've read by Joyce Maynard, and it won't be my last! I give this book a 4.5/5! Perfect book for a book club, as well!


    6. The only information that I had about Joyce Maynard before reading this novel was that she previously had an affair with J. D. Salinger. I’m glad that I decided to see if she could also write because I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. The story unspools slowly in the beginning; and, I became a bit impatient waiting for an epiphany moment from Helen that should cause her to rethink her choice of friends.It was a great audio…an immersive, all consuming read. I plan to check out other novels by t [...]


    7. 4.25★Wow, I am so stoked. I was under the influence from page one and forty-eight hours later it’s over. I want more. My only interaction with this author was the movie version of her Labor Day which my two besties and I really liked (which probably means that the book must be awesome).Her very skillful and subtle writing mesmerized me. Each page was like a strand on a spider’s web under construction. There’s this building fascination as you watch it coming together and then you realize [...]


    8. If you’re looking for the story about a helpless boozer loser, look elsewhere. Me? I like a good story about a down-and-outer, and given the title (which is what drew me in), I was surprised to see that drinking wasn’t the theme. I kept waiting for booze to take over the plot, but it didn’t. (So in a sick way, I was sort of disappointed.) The evils of alcohol do play a role, but it’s not the focus. For Helen, her drug of choice is a rich, charismatic woman who pays unending attention to [...]


    9. I’ve been on a bit of a roll with Joyce Maynard she’s a firm audio favourite, I find her storytelling easy to digest and find my concentration doesn’t waver at all while listening, she’s got such a hypnotic voice. The way she portrays her characters they feel so authentic, so realistic in her dialogue and scenarios you can really feel the book played out visually. The story builds slow which is characteristic of Maynard but it never feels dull, you become part of the story as it slowly u [...]


    10. Remember in middle school, when the popular kid would talk to your friend and suddenly you ceased to exist? Well, in adulthood there are those that never quite grew out of that basking-in-attention phase. Sometimes, you just need to feel special I guess. The main character: Helen has found her people. They are wildly successful, resourceful, influential, fun, generous, and out of everyone else, they have chosen her as their rescued pet so to speak. And like a child eager to please, she is oh so [...]


    11. Under the Influence is the second Maynard (audio)book I read, and as you can see from my rating, I enjoyed it a great deal.The delivery was superb, I was immersed in the very realistic story from the very beginning. Helen loses custody of her son, because of driving under the influence. She immediately changes her ways, goes through the motions to prove that she's worthy of having her son back. But things take time. Desperately lonely, she's taken under the wing by a rich couple, Ava and Swift H [...]


    12. Very interesting read with a lot to think about. Group read for May, so I will wait and post my review later. Helen is under the influence. She is under the influence of alcohol in the beginning of the story, and that causes her some serious problems, but she then falls under the influence of two people with money and possessions and a lifestyle that she wants, and that almost costs her everything. Its a complicated story about self-respect (or lack thereof), about parental responsibility, about [...]


    13. 4.5 stars. Loved the first person point of view. The title was very crafty. It has two different meanings in this book. Author read the book for the audio version and was fabulous. Addictive read. This is not really a suspense book but there's the underlying tone that something is not right with these characters.


    14. I feel terrible for saying this about a New York Times bestselling author, but this book was GOD AWFUL. It had a soap opera-y quality that would be best expressed not in book form, but as the screenplay for a Lifetime movie, if we're being totally honest here. Where to start? Apparently I'm in the minority here with my opinion, judging by the number of 4 and 5-star reviews that I'm seeing on , however, unless this woman is an acquired taste—like a single malt scotch that tastes revoltingly bit [...]


    15. So this was my first ever complete audiobook! I have never been able to listen to audiobooks. I've started a few in the past but never got more than a few chapters in before I just couldn't handle the narrator trying to do multiple characters in dialogue. It just didn't work.I got a great recommendation from a GR friend to try a Joyce Maynard book for audio because there is a lot narration and less dialogue. It was indeed a great recommendation for me - truly like having someone tell me a story. [...]


    16. Under the Influence is story of love, friendship, loss, and betrayal - and the lengths one will go to to be accepted and approved of.I am not often drawn into a book from the first few pages, but the story pulled me in right away and kept me engrossed to the end. The novel is wonderfully written and well-paced throughout. I, also, loved the eclectic group of characters.4.5 *


    17. Joyce Maynard delivers a timely, poignant, and cautionary tale UNDER THE INFLUENCE---how ordinary people (victims) --fall under the influence of not only unhealthy addictions, but toxic people, as well. Often outward things which seem to dazzle--socially accepted, can be deadly in many ways. Choose your friendshipsand relationships wisely—moral values; good versus evil and the masks which deceive. Helen a young divorced mother,of seven-year-old son, Ollie-- a photographer and caterer. She like [...]


    18. Probably closer to a 4.5 starsFrom the beginning of this tightly plotted story there's an impending sense of doom. The book starts off when Helen glimpses Ava in the back of a taxi. Ava is an old friend that she hasn't seen in years and the sighting sends her down memory lane to the events that led to the end of their friendship.Helen was a lost soul when she met Ava. She was badly parented, divorced, and had recently lost custody of her young son. Ava and Swift are wealthy philanthropists who t [...]


    19. A beautiful story about love, family, and friendship. I was so immersed in the story that when it ended I screamed. I'm still living in it even though I've started another.


    20. Helen is in a bad place. She had been convicted of DUI, and she has lost custody of her 8 year-old son, Oliver. She is working several dead-end jobs. Then one night at a party she is working, she meets Ava and Swift Havilland. A wealthy and philanthropic couple, they seem to have it all, even though Ava is in a wheelchair. Ava takes Helen under her wing, and a consuming friendship develops. The novel then develops the themes of friendship and obsession and manipulation. The story is compelling a [...]


    21. What more to say except it is written by Joyce Maynard - one of best contemporary writers working these days. Honesty. One word that can be used for all of her works. The characters are real people caught in real circumstances, no need to manufacture any outlandish catastrophe for the sake of suspense. In Maynard's ,most capable hands are stories you relate to and characters you care about. Helen is far from perfect and her struggle to get her life back in order is played out in near perfect pro [...]


    22. Brilliant, excellent, thought-provoking! 'Under the Influence' deserves an award. This is a tightly focused literary exploration of mainly six characters, and others, too, fed to the reader with a huge delightful dollop of an entertaining story on top.Helen, the contrite narrator, made a lot of mistakes in the previous decade. Now, ten years later, she wants to talk about it, and I, gentle reader, am so happy she is in a confessional mood. I intend to buy a copy of this novel (I read a library l [...]


    23. Having the author Joyce Maynard herself as the reader for this audible book increased the intimacy yet the voice always seemed authentically the character Helen herself. I’d love to read Under the Influence (the title is relevant in several senses) with a book club. It should engender lively discussion & vigorous disagreement concerning which characters are attractive & unattractive & why. I love stories about friendship between characters with very different backgrounds & soci [...]


    24. Full disclosure: I read the first 120 pages and then skimmed the rest. This book was a complete disaster. I said more in my previous updates about it, but it never got better. The author didn't even bother to keep details straight or consistent throughout the book. It was like she mixed up parts from different drafts and that's what ended up being published.This was very lazy writing by such a talented writer. This may be what has me give up on any future books by her.


    25. (Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)One of the things that I'm working on in my personal life this year is to better acknowledge and cultivate my capacity for empathy; for those who don't know, that's not when you feel sorry for someone (that's instead sympathy), but when you try to imagine what it must be like to actually be that person, to wal [...]


    26. Helen was raised by an unfit single mother, and had vowed to one day be a good mother. Desperate for love and family, Helen marries Dwight, a fast talking salesman. She is enamoured by his tight knit family, but Dwight is not the man Helen was hoping for, and he leaves her for another woman. She has her son, Ollie, whom she loves fiercely. Unfortunately Helen has a weakness for wine, finding herself polishing off a bottle after Ollie is in bed. When Ollie becomes ill one night, Helen is charged [...]



    27. Under the Influence by Joyce Maynard is a very highly recommended novel about a woman desperate for family.Helen is a photographer who works as a school portrait photographer. She lives for her son, Ollie and the weekends she gets to see him - if it all works out with her ex. Helen lost custody of Ollie three years ago after she was arrested for a DUI. She can tell Ollie is drifting away from her and yet she feels powerless to do anything about it. Since the DUI, she's been sober, but her ex won [...]


    28. I liked this book but didn't love it. Helen loses custody of her child due to one DUI and her life is seemingly out of control. Then she meets Ava Havilland at an art gallery opening and she and her husband Swift seem to take Helen under their wing. But when does friendship cross over into manipulation and control, especially when it involves Helen's young son Oliver? Pervading this book is an overriding sense of dread. It seems at every turn, Helen makes the wrong choice, and you know that some [...]



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