In the tradition of Mona Simpson's Anywhere But Here, Places to Look for a Mother tells a tale of mostly maddening mother-daughter bonds. Forgiveness is always there, but it's hard to find. And Stansbury's fractured Taylor family, led by the thoroughly eccentric matriarch, Miriam Taylor, usually loses it. With lithe prose, pitch-perfect dialogue, and gloriously real characters, author Nicole Stansbury conjures a family that proves Tolstoy right once again: All happy families are alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. The Taylors are no exception, but Places to Look for a Mother is an exceptionally good debut novel.