The Perfect Motherby Aimee Molloy Published 1 May 2018
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Vanity Fair calls it one of the most anticipated books of the summer. Soon to be a major motion picture starring Scandal's Kerry Washington.
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.
"The Perfect Mother" Reviews
I enjoyed this quite a lot.
The Perfect Mother definitely has something of a Moriarty vibe (Liane, not Jim) but I personally found it better paced. I struggled with the slowness and tame domesticity of Moriarty's The Husband's Secret and Truly Madly Guilty, though I enjoyed the HBO adaptation of Big Little Lies. I would say that this book is more like the latter. It's predominantly about women and the relationships between them, with the thriller aspect of a missing baby providing the stage on which these complex friendships and loyalties play out.
Molloy splits the narrative in an interesting way. The "present" of the story contains short, hard-hitting chapters that briefly reflect on the events leading up to that moment, and then the book moves to the past and explores what happens when an infant goes missing while his mother - Winnie - is getting a much-needed night out with other members of her "mommy group".
This colourful group of women drive the story, which is largely about the pressures put on mothers to be "perfect". As the case plays out, we see news articles and talk shows questioning Winnie's behaviour: how could she go out drinking while her poor baby was being kidnapped? Her friends from her group are also forced to question how much they really know Winnie, and each other.
Molloy captures what it is like to drive yourself a little crazy trying to be that elusive "perfect mother" and shows the dark events that can unfold in the wake of such impossible aspirations. Ultimately, though, there is something very uplifting about this group of mothers banding together and putting aside their doubts to help one of their own. These women - each from different backgrounds with very different financial situations - put strains on their relationships and careers to help find Winnie's baby.
The Perfect Mother is being called a "thriller", which I suppose technically it is, but it is far more a tale of motherhood and female friendship in all their beautiful, vicious glory.
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As soon as I read the description for “The Perfect Mother” I immediately added it to my list of Most Anticipated Reads for 2018. The fact that it was already in production to be made into a major motion picture added to my intrigue. I couldn’t wait to read it.
The May Mothers are a group of mothers who gave birth in the same month. They joined the group online and eventually met in person. They met a couple of times a week and shared what was happening in their lives and with their babies. The group changed a lot, people came and went… but a small group of women stuck it out and continued to meet up often.
Then one night someone suggests that they get together for a Mommy only night out at a local bar. It would be a nice break from their daily routine.
“This will be great. A few hours out. A slice of freedom. Nothing we’ll regret. Just one drink.”
One mother was very hesitant about leaving her baby, but the other mothers insist that she come. They tell her everything will be fine.
But they were wrong….and now a baby is missing.
“bad things happen in heat like this”
Right away the police are involved and social media goes crazy as videos and photos from the night in question are released. Lives are turned upside down, judgments are made, and it seems everyone has something to hide. Is anyone who they claim to be?
Will a group of three determined mothers be able to help reunite mother and child?
I really enjoyed this interesting and unique story about motherhood, betrayals, secrets, and lies.
The author included “Today’s Advice” at the start of each chapter; a blurb with advice or information about the stages of emotional, social, or physical development. The kind of advice that seems helpful but can also make a new mother crazy at times, wondering if their baby is developing at the “right” pace. Of course, everyone wants to be “ The Perfect Mother ”. A lot of what the characters were going through was very relevant. How it sometimes feels like everyone knows where they are doing except for you.
The story was gripping. I did figure out one of the twists early on, but it didn’t bother me as I was really into each characters story-line as well as the mystery of the missing baby. There were a couple of times that I lost track of who was who but overall I was able to keep things straight.
All in all, I thought this was a very satisfying domestic suspense novel with excellent characters and a great plot that had me flipping pages at a rapid pace from start to finish.
I’m excited to see what Aimee Molloy comes up with next.
I'd like to thank HarperCollins for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.
Finally a thriller that really delivers! Stayed up until 2:00 last night finishing this, I just had to know how it ended. It’s amazing that this is a debut novel and that it has already been picked up to be made into a movie, what a wonderful accomplishment for Ms. Molloy.
This novel is told from multiple points of view and I did have a little trouble at times keeping track of who was talking but that was probably just because I was reading too fast! The author also used a technique that worked very well to ratchet up the tension, “someone” was writing about what she was feeling and going through” at the beginning of the chapters, but we don’t know who.
The story is about a handful of first time moms who meet in what they call their “May Mothers” group because they are all due in May. The main characters are Francie, Nell, Collette, Scarlet, Winnie and Token (a well chosen name as he is the token male in the group). They meet twice a week in a park with babies in strollers sharing joyful times, stories of exhaustion seeking advice and assurance from each other. Everything is going along well until, as the blurb will tell you, they decide to have a single night out and during that time one of the newborns is abducted from his home, with the babysitter asleep on the couch when the police arrive. To add to the frustration and anger of the mothers the police seem to make so many mistakes, letting people into the crime scene before taking photos, fingerprints, etc.
The crime becomes a media circus with a particular woman reporter who is out to find the “dirt” on any of the women, and that she does. All of these women are unique, all have secrets and I had absolutely no idea who the abducted baby Midas.
What really hit home for me is the fact that one of my daughters has a 2 and 4 year old and I can remember how flustered and upset she was with her first baby, particularly since she is in another state with no family close by. She turned to the internet which, in my opinion, just made things worse. Whatever worry or problem she had she seemed to be able to find some article that told her multiple ways of solving it. I think new mothers in today’s society are expected to be so much, the “perfect mother” doing everything right, the in-shape wife and most also have careers. I remember my pregnancies and early years with four daughters and I think things are worse now with too much information available on the internet. I remember I had two “baby books” both of which I ended up tossing!
The novel also hits upon sensationalism by the news media. We are all bombarded with it every time we turn on the TV, whether it is political or social, it always seems to be reported in a way that will get more viewers, no matter whom they hurt in the process or whose career they may destroy.
So this novel is a great thriller and a perfect analysis of our times. I would, however, not recommend this book to new mothers as this will just give them more to worry about!
I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher through Edelweiss, thank you.
The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy is a psychological thriller that easily will have readers on the edge of their seat as the story involves a missing infant. This one is told from multiple points of view including an unknown voice involved in the story.
Several women have formed a group that they are calling the May Mothers after the fact that they all met because they were all due to have their babies that May. After the births the ladies would get together to share stories of their children and various parenting tips to try to help each other along the way.
On the Fourth of July the May Mothers organized a girls night out insisting that they all needed a break away from the babies just for a few hours. Nothing would happen they said. Everything will be fine they said. Of course things did not turn out fine when one of the mothers returns to find her baby has been kidnapped.
As a reader I've often said there is nothing more intense than that of a missing child so when I saw this one I knew I should be in for an exciting ride. And to hear that the book has already had offers of a movie deal with a big name actress even before it's published, sign me up please.
Just as I had expected the story is one that is easy to get lost in as you read and the only reason I found myself not giving five stars really was a few times during the book I'd lose track a bit of the point of view. It actually was done pretty well though so I wouldn't let the multiple points of view scare anyone away. I also had a slight idea of the outcome fairly early on but never figured the actual who/how it all came about. But when it was all said and done I do think readers are really going to enjoy this one and can't wait to see how the movie turns out.
I received an advance copy from the publisher via Edelweiss.
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A clever page-turner!
A mother’s group goes out for a fun get together at the local bar. Then one mom gets a call from the babysitter.
I used to be in a mommy group and we would meet every week to support each other (called Super Moms). This mommy group (May Mothers) is going through hell after one of the babies goes missing.
This book got me out of my reading slump. Perfectly paced with plenty of twists, it kept me engaged as the moms put on their detective hats (along with me).
I loved the camaraderie of the moms and could relate to the situations that new moms are often juggling. The ladies have a strong bond and are supportive of each other. They are also shrewd and had me tensing up at some of their antics.
A clever ending that surprised me. This would be a perfect summer/beach read.