the perfect motherSynopsis (from Goodreads.com):

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.

My Take:

I’ll start off with what I liked:  This book was intriguing and mysterious.  There were enough twists and turned to keep you guessing whodunit.  While one character’s involvement was predictable, I personally was surprised by the identity of the kidnapper.  Throughout the book, the story is told through a third person POV with the exception of a few chapters, which are first person and told from the POV of the kidnapper.  Once the kidnapper was revealed, I went back to the beginning and read those early first person accounts.  It was brilliantly woven together.  The answer was RIGHT THERE all along, but, if you’re like me, you overlook it.

Now to address what I hated.  I CAN’T STAND overly-stereotyped mother roles.  I’m a military wife whose husband deploys constantly.  I had to give birth to my second child while he was gone.  As a result, the CONSTANT WHINING about how hard motherhood was got on my nerves.  Suck it up, girlfriend!  Newborns are EASY compared to toddlers!  Newborns eat, sleep, cry, and poop (with emphasis on the sleeping and crying parts).  It’s not that hard of a stage once you get used to lack of sleep.  And, don’t get me started on the ridiculous advice.  Oh, you put conventional potatoes instead of organic potatoes on your nipples to stimulate milk production?  Yes, surely that means that your milk supply will dry up forever.  I know that actual young mothers have some of these fears, but the hardships of being a mother seemed WAY OVERLY EMPHASIZED.  Once character said she would literally have a mental breakdown if it weren’t for this mommy group.  Really? If you’re THAT close to a mental breakdown, maybe you should go ahead and schedule some time with a therapist, because it’s only going to get harder.  I digress– while I know some women feel this way in real life, many do not.  Many LIKE the companionship they get in mommy groups, but they don’t NEED them to avert a breakdown. They prefer confiding in a couple close friends. In my opinion, the overemphasis of these surface-level friendships you find in mommy groups led to more than one occasion where I rolled my eyes.

Overall, I give this book 3.5 stars.  I would recommend it to a friend, but with a warning that it makes motherhood feel more like martyrdom than a blessing.

The Perfect Mother Review Box

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