Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Review: The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy

Pub. Date: May 1st, 2018
Publisher: Harper
Pages: 336

Genre: Contemporary Fiction / Mystery / Thriller


Vanity Fair calls it one of the most anticipated books of the summer. Soon to be a major motion picture starring Scandal's Kerry Washington.

An addictive psychological thriller about a group of women whose lives become unexpectedly connected when one of their newborns goes missing.

They call themselves the May Mothers—a collection of new moms who gave birth in the same month. Twice a week, with strollers in tow, they get together in Prospect Park, seeking refuge from the isolation of new motherhood; sharing the fears, joys, and anxieties of their new child-centered lives.

When the group’s members agree to meet for drinks at a hip local bar, they have in mind a casual evening of fun, a brief break from their daily routine. But on this sultry Fourth of July night during the hottest summer in Brooklyn’s history, something goes terrifyingly wrong: one of the babies is abducted from his crib. Winnie, a single mom, was reluctant to leave six-week-old Midas with a babysitter, but the May Mothers insisted that everything would be fine. Now Midas is missing, the police are asking disturbing questions, and Winnie’s very private life has become fodder for a ravenous media.

Though none of the other members in the group are close to the reserved Winnie, three of them will go to increasingly risky lengths to help her find her son. And as the police bungle the investigation and the media begin to scrutinize the mothers in the days that follow, damaging secrets are exposed, marriages are tested, and friendships are formed and fractured.  

What Did I Think About the Story?

I started reading The Perfect Mother with reserved expectations. Whenever a book is touted as the "next big thing" (for god's sake it's already being made into a movie and it just came out!), I'm wary of getting too excited in case I end up feeling let down. I'm happy to say that I enjoyed this story quite a bit, even if I didn't find the mystery of who took the baby that hard to figure out.

The story shifts back and forth between various "May Mothers", sometimes even within the same chapter. While I know this can sometimes be confusing or annoying, I actually didn't find that it hurt the narrative or flow at all, but actually gave a nice variety of perspectives on the same situations that were happening. As the story unfolds and the mothers get themselves further and further involved in the investigation into what happened to baby Midas their own secrets begin to be exposed and their lives are thrown into disarray during the ensuing media storm. As these secrets keep being revealed the reader can't help but wonder what else they might be hiding.

The best part of the story, in my opinion, was actually learning the backstories of each of the May Mothers as well as the various ways they are dealing with the ups and downs of pregnancy and motherhood - even when they don't fully admit these problems to each other. Collectively the mothers are dealing with issues as far ranging as infertility, surprise pregnancies, colic, breast feeding difficulties and shame, sleepless nights, not wanting sex, wanting a life of one's own, not wanting to go back to work or, on the flipside, wanting to go back to work and feeling guilty about it, and so much more. They are each, in their own way, trying to balance all of the aspects of life, marriage, and kids and feeling like they are failing miserably, as every single person who has gone through it does at one time or another. This made the story, and it's characters, feel very relatable and kept me turning the pages to see what else they'd face along their journey. On top of all this, the media throws the mothers into the spotlight, highlighting and vilifying all of those things that made them feel like bad mothers, including just going out for drinks and trying to unwind without the demands and expectation of husbands and children. It's a fascinating dynamic that so many people will be able to relate to, at least on some level.

The mystery aspect I didn't find quite as intriguing. I have to be honest that I figured out who had taken Midas long before it was revealed, although I will admit that I could not have guessed at the why's or how's. It wasn't that it was a particularly bad reveal - it actually firmed up some of the other aspects of the story that I loved - I just, for whatever reason, honed in on the clues dropped throughout the story and saw it coming a mile away. Now, for those that don't figure it out, it will be a pretty interesting discovery. However, I have a feeling I won't be alone in figuring it out pretty early on.

The Perfect Mother is, in fact, a pretty perfect story for any mother to read. It will not only be quite relatable to anyone who's doubted their abilities at one time or another, but it will also hit that core fear we all have when our children are small and helpless: what if I fail to keep my child safe? It's a quick, enjoyable read and I can see why it's getting so much buzz this summer.

What Did I Think About the Cover?

I think it's quite beautiful, even with all of it's chaos. It took me the longest time to realize that it was a bouquet of flowers that had been absolutely destroyed. This fits the story well as these mothers, with seemingly perfect lives, are thrown into such turmoil and upheaval by the kidnapping of one of their babies. I really like it!

My Rating: 4.0/5.0

I purchased a copy of The Perfect Mother for my own library. All opinions are mine alone. You can find more information about the book, including other reviews and links to where you can purchase a copy, on Goodreads HERE.

No comments:

Post a Comment