Book Review: The Perfect Mother, Aimee Malloy

This book blew my socks off! I was out this week recovering from surgery and this was just what I needed – I read it in two days! Here the blurb:

They call themselves the May Mothers—a group of new moms whose babies were born in the same month. Twice a week, they get together in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park for some much-needed adult time.

When the women go out for drinks at the hip neighborhood bar,they are looking for a fun break from their daily routine. But on this hot Fourth of July night, something goes terrifyingly wrong: one of the babies is taken from his crib. Winnie, a single mom, was reluctant to leave six-week-old Midas with a babysitter, but her fellow May Mothers insisted everything would be fine. Now he is missing. What follows is a heart-pounding race to find Midas, during which secrets are exposed, marriages are tested, and friendships are destroyed.

This is totally the next Gone Girl, except with a more satisfying ending. It’s the type of book I’m sure will be a star-studded movie (I already have plenty of ideas for who should play the characters 😊). I don’t want to give anything away, I will just say that you will never see the ending coming. But of course, half the fun is trying to figure it out.

Under the brilliantly written mystery, I found the underlying theme of the book, about new motherhood and the way we judge each other as women and mothers, to be perpetually relevant and always in need of discussion. The May Mothers are generally supportive of each other, but there is definitely still shade thrown when it comes to hot buttons about everything from breastfeeding to co-sleeping to having a glass of freakin’ wine to working vs. staying home.

Then there’s the judgement the rest of the world scrambles to cast on Winnie and the rest of the group for daring to leave their babies at home for an evening to blow off a little steam. Serves her right to have her baby stolen, right? People are such dicks.

But no one is harder on the mothers than themselves – from Collette, who’s afraid to tell her husband and the world that she wants to stay home with the baby; to Francie, who is so financially constrained and whose husband is barely helping with their colicky baby; to Nell, who’s forced to return to work before she’s ready and then held to an impossible standard. It begs the question I’m always asking: why do women have to slash each other – and themselves – down? Why can’t we just be comfortable with our own choices and not put others down for theirs? Have a kid or don’t, work or stay at home, breastfeed or formula, who the f@&$ cares? Just love your kid (or your life sans kids), and stop being an asshole to everyone else!

End rant.

Anyway, my point is this book is the bomb. The characters are vivid, the plot engrossing, and the underlying message, that NO ONE is “The Perfect Mother,” make this a five star read.

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