The perfect baby. The perfect life. The perfect crime: The Perfect Mother

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Happy May as we celebrate our first best friends:  Mom, Mommy, Momma, Mother, Madre, Mimi.  The first woman who loved us – dreamed of us – before they even laid eyes on us.  I’m very blessed to still have my mother.  I call her every day, to catch up on how our days went, although she’s retired now, living the senior life in Florida, with days spent by the pool while she watches Days of Our Lives.  I, on the other hand, am usually complaining about the chilling weather in the Northeast, venting about my latest dating escapades, or excitedly bragging about my latest DIY project.

 When you’re young, your mother is perfect.  She is always right – about everything.  She is nurturing and kind, but she is also  cultivating and preparing you for the world.  My mother was my protector, but she didn’t hover.  To me, she was perfect, while I (in hindsight), was spoiled rotten with the latest toys, ballet, cheerleading and swimming lessons.  Now that I’m older, surrounded by friends who are married with toddlers, I have no idea how any of you mothers do it.  You work full-time jobs, without a nanny.  You send your children to daycare, which costs as much as my mortgage.  And, let’s not forget the monthly expenses like clothes, and diapers and formula.  Anything more is a luxury.  None of the mothers I know are perfect, but they do their damned best for their babies.

 I loved The Perfect Mother.  The author, Aimee Molloy, captures the struggles that new mothers face:  sleepless nights, difficulty lactating, intimacy issues with their partner, and post-partum depression.  Winnie, the protagonist, joins the “May Mothers”– a mommy group organized in Brooklyn, for new local moms.  They call themselves the “May Mothers” for the most simplest reason as it sounds: their babies are due in May.  Winnie joined the group for the same reason most women join mommy groups:  seeking a village of commonality.  Despite her introversion, Winnie attends the meetings with her newborn, Midas, for “May Mothers” gatherings at their local park.  Winnie is a single mom, with little help; so, when the “May Mothers” organize a  girls’ night to relieve some new mom stress, Winnie feels anxious about leaving Midas with a sitter for the very first time.  When Midas is kidnapped, this happy-go-lucky gentrified Brooklyn for the “May Mothers” completely turns upside down and each member has secrets waiting to be told.

What I liked… 

I liked how the author went back and forth between the first and the third person.  One minute, you’re outside looking in.  The next minute, you are in the mind of that particular character, absorbing all of their emotions as they feel the panic for their friend, Winnie; but also, the hysteria, confusion and dread as a mother faced with the reality of a missing child in a large city.  Whether you have children or not, you feel for these women as they try to juggle their lives as they once were, and balance their new little one.  I thought the characters were very authentic and loved how Molloy developed each one.

Truthfully, this book reminded me a lot of Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty, based on the book’s format and character voices.  Nonetheless, I think I enjoyed this book more than Big Little Lies, in the sense that once I got through 75% of the latter, the ending became indubitably predictable.  On the other hand, The Perfect Mother had an ending that was completely unexpected, up until the last moment and surprise, everything isn’t as it seems.

What I did not like…

I honestly cannot think of one negative critique for Molloy’s first novel.  I thought the plots and mini plots were very well laid out.  I thought each character’s secrets were exposed in due time.  Most importantly, I thought the surprise ending was worth it. 

Kerry Washington is set to star and produce the film adaptation of The Perfect Mother .  As always, I cannot wait to see her on film and bring this book to life.

Have any of you read this yet?  What are your thoughts?

 

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