Genre: Domestic Thriller
Rating: 3.5/5.0 stars
Main Takeaway: An enjoyable page-turner, yet filled with themes and tropes that are entirely unoriginal. I felt like I’d read this book a thousand times before.
When Winnie, a single-mother, joins a new mother’s group called the May Mothers based in her Brooklyn neighborhood, she is intimidated by the other mothers’ seemingly perfect lives. But when Winnie’s son is abducted during a night out with the May Mothers and Winnie is placed under suspicion, Nell, Collette, and Francie ban together to find baby Midas at any cost, even as their own secrets are publicly pulled out of the dark and their safety threatened.
The Perfect Mother plays on every new mother’s stereotypical fear – that she is not the “perfect mother” (if that even exists), that her baby will be snatched away the moment she looks away. Ultimately, this book was mildly entertaining at best; it was a quick, easy read, simple in structure, and had just enough suspense to keep the pages turning.
What I did not like about this book was just how inanely stereotypical it was. It was the classic new-mom-trying-to-have-it-all theme, the new mom fear of going back to work, the constant comparing oneself to everyone else, the falseness in the interactions between some of the women, and the hysterical woman trope. Molloy plays on what your stereotypical vision of new motherhood is, and ultimately provides us with no shocking twists in the plot. The hysterical woman trope, above all, is my qualm with this book – it’s been done, overdone in fact, and is the one thing that makes me immediately close a book and throw it across the room.
If you’re someone who likes a quick, easy thriller to read by the pool and the hysterical woman trope and the stereotypes about women and motherhood don’t bother you, you might very well enjoy this book as many others have. But in the end, I felt like The Perfect Mother was a book I’d already read a thousand times and did not need to read again.