The Perfect Mother
by Aimee Molloy
Publication Date : May 1, 2018
Pages : 336
Synopsis from Publisher :
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.
The amateur sleuth/detective is one of my favorite protagonists. This type of protagonist is usually a perfectly normal person going about their life. Suddenly they or someone they love is thrust into a dangerous situation - they must choose fight or flight. I find this protagonist the most relatable. I try to put myself their situation, wondering what I would do in their shoes. More often than not, I can understand the choices they made during their investigation. I can relate to their motivations for inserting themselves into a potentially dangerous situation. The Perfect Mother featured multiple amateur detectives, but unfortunately I could not find a way to connect with any of the characters.
Meet The May Mothers - Collete, Winnie, Francie, and Nell. All new mothers with babies born in the month of May. They meet up regularly in a park in Brooklyn, New York to discuss the joys and sadness of new motherhood. On July 4, the mothers decide to have a night out without their children. While the mothers are out, Winnie’s son, Midas disappears. The events that follow expose, lies, secrets, and loads of insecurities.
I must make a disclaimer before I continue with this review. I am not a mother. I do not know nor could I even imagine the intense amount of pressure a new mother experiences. I cannot fathom the amount of fear a mother feels when presented with a tiny helpless person who looks to you for everything. My hat is off to any parent who is able to navigate these challenges.
Molloy’s depiction of motherhood is rather frighting. From unsolicited advice, to judgments from other mothers, to trying to find some balance between motherhood and being a wife. I felt a great deal of empathy for each May Mother. Each mother struggled with feelings of doubt, guilt, and feelings of never doing enough. However, I did not feel any sort of connection with any of the characters. I am assuming I could not relate to any of the characters because I am not a mother.
Despite not being able to connect with any of the May Mothers, I did enjoy reading the portions of the story told from Nell’s perspective. Nell’s brash and no nonsense attitude was a contrast to the other members in the group. Collete, Winnie, Francie, and Nell all have back stories and secrets which come to light when Midas goes missing. For me, Nell’s back story was the most interesting.
I also enjoyed the way the story was laid out. When the book opens readers are transported to the night Midas went missing. This version of the nights events are told from a neutral narrator rather than the point of view of the mothers. The reader will go into the story with facts and a basic understanding of what happened while Collete, Winnie, Francie, and Nell were at the bar. There was very little focus on the police investigation of Midas’ disappearance. I would like to have read more about the methods the police were using to find Midas.
I really had high hopes for The Perfect Mother. I read some great reviews and the book cover was filled with praises from some of my favorite authors. Unfortunately The Perfect Mother missed the mark for me. Not because the story was not well written, or the plot was lacking, but rather, I am not the right audience for this kind of story. The mystery within the story played out in the background rather than the foreground. Readers contemplating making The Perfect Mother their next read should not be dissuaded by my review. The story was well written with a shocking twist. My inability to connect with any of the characters is the only reason I gave this story a lower rating. Although I could not connect with the characters in The Perfect Mother, I am sure there are many readers that will connect with each of the characters and find The Perfect Mother enjoyable and relatable.
*Thanks to Harper for my free copy of The Perfect Mother*
Murder and Moore Rating:
3.5 out of 5 Stars