Smart fiction for serious readers

     The Perfect Mother - Aimee Molloy  3/5 stars
                                                               
                                                                     
 


      Anytime you hear rave reviews about a book you always have doubts right? These are critics after all and there are also marketing people who want the books in people's hands, or on their Kindle screen. What happens when the buzz dies down and you realize you were suckered into buying a novel that fails on the promises it made? The Perfect Mother is one such book. I can agree that it will work great as a film because as a book, it just seems to be all over the place. The writing style is told from varying viewpoints. It's not a bad thing because you get a decent story from a variety of characters, but sometimes it's hard to keep track of them all.

        For a debut, it's pretty ambitious and is clearly designed to be read by people who like to take risks with their fiction. It's not simply a book about a kidnapping. That would be too easy. Instead, we get a variety of issues and the joys of new motherhood wrapped inside a story about a kidnapping. The oversaturation of the media is also a focal point which is enough to make every book club discussing this book dizzy with topical conversation. Does it all work? Yes, and no. Molloy seems to steer the ship through all of these plot points and issues just fine, but in the end, it's just a decent thriller that focuses more on the women, and less on the crime. The point of it all is that everyone has secrets, and no matter how much you try and hide them they always come back to bite you. In this age of 24-hour news, nothing is hidden from view.

      This seems like a pretty decent page turner and for the most part, it is, but it becomes mired down in its other plot ideas. These are boring women, and the kidnapping isn't even the sole focus of the novel. We know the police made mistakes which is yet another topical reference mention by Molloy. This is a good novel, but it's not great. The characters are too one dimensional and the topical nature of the book bogs it down quite a bit. Sure, when the film comes out it'll be interesting to see how it works, and odds are it'll be even better than the book. If you like this kind of fiction, odds are you'll find my review a bit harsh, and you may call me names, but that's okay. I'm not saying this is an awful book, it's just not what I was hoping for.

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