Review: The Perfect Mother
The Perfect Mother, Aimee Molloy
Published May 1, 2018, Harper
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.
I ended up reading this book in a single day, partly because I was avoiding doing work, but mostly because I was curious about how the mystery would resolve itself.
This isn't the first book to explore the modern world of mom-shaming and the myriad of ways in which being a mother is difficult, and it won't be the last- and it shouldn't be. Beyond the mystery of "What happened to baby Midas?" there's a lot of examples of mental health looks like during and after pregnancy.
I'm not a mother, nor do I plan to be one, but as a feminist and a friend and family member to incredible women who are raising children I'm constantly amazed by all the conflicting pieces of advice and fear-mongering that happens online, in websites, newsletters, blogs, forums- you name it. And I'm always amazed by how much, just like in the book, that desire to over advice trickles into the real world, with people offering unsolicited opinions about how to raise someone else's child.
The main twist of the mystery of the book was an interesting one, and one that looks at the possible gaps in postpartum mental health treatment.
Overall, I liked the characters and I found the story compelling enough to read page after page.
I'm curious to see the movie when it comes out, especially with Kerry Washington as a lead.