Review: The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy

Review: The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy
The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy

Published by Harper on May 1, 2018
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Format: ARC, Print
Source: The Publisher

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I received an advance copy of this book from The 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 Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy is a gripping read that’s just as much social commentary as it is a psychological thriller. True, there’s a mystery at its center. But beyond this, the book speaks to the incessant—and often unrealistic—demands that society places on mothers.

Drawn together via a parenting site called The Village, a group of new moms—aka the May Mothers since they all gave birth for the first time in May—meets weekly in Brooklyn to socialize and support each other.

Predictably, their respective lives are completely absorbed in new motherhood. So one night, they agree to take a break and hit the town at a local bar. It’s a momentary respite from the hectic day-to-day of mommy life, but it all comes crashing down when single mom Winnie’s son, Midas, goes missing.

What follows is a complete media circus, where everyone surrounding Winnie is thrust into the limelight and subsequently thrown into suspicion: the May Mothers, Winnie’s babysitter, and even Winnie herself. As the search for baby Midas stretches into hours and then days, secrets are uncovered and lies are exposed when it’s revealed that each of the May Mothers has something to hide.

I definitely enjoyed The Perfect Mother. It’s getting quite a bit of pre-publication hype since the film rights have been sold and Kerry Washington is slated to star. It does have some twists and turns; just when I thought I might be catching on, sure enough, the story veered in another direction totally.

My only complaint (and it’s a small one at that) is that the moment of the big reveal felt a little anti-climactic to me. Without mentioning spoilers, there’s a scene that I thought lost a bit of steam in the narrative. But as I said, I still enjoyed the story as a whole.

I also think it’s important to note how much social commentary is in this book. I’m not a mother, but I think they just might have the toughest job in the world. There are so many expectations thrust upon women in general, but especially those who become mothers. The book highlights these moments of exasperation and hopelessness while simultaneously relating moments of completion and joy.

The Perfect Mother is a solid psychological thriller and I recommend it.

Rating: 4.5 stars


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