The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy
Published: May 1st 2018 by Harper
Rating: 3/5 stars – ★★★
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.
I picked this book up hoping it would cure my reading slump. I wanted to read a gripping thriller because it’s been difficult for books to capture my attention lately. While I’m glad I read this, I do think it wasn’t what I was looking for.
On Amazon, The Perfect Mother is actually described as a gripping thriller. I disagree with this. It is closer to a mystery novel mixed with contemporary fiction.
This is the story of the May Mothers, a group of women who all gave birth in the month of May. They are a sort of ‘mommy group’ and meet up every week to share experiences, have someone to talk to, etc. On the Fourth of July, they decide to have a night to themselves and go to a bar. That’s when Midas disappears. We follow a few of the May Mothers as they learn how to adapt their lives to a newborn as well as deal with the disappearance of Midas.
I have to admit that I was interested in the mystery aspect of this novel. I wanted to know what happened to Midas, and I didn’t entirely guess the ending. Which is a good thing, for a mystery/thriller! My main ‘issue’ with this book is that the mystery is not the main aspect of this novel. At the end of the book, I felt like I still didn’t know much about the people surrounding Midas or the investigation of his disappearance. I couldn’t tell you anything aside from a few basic facts about Winnie (Midas’ mom), the dad or their family. I don’t know what the police investigated or how. To me, that’s an important part of a missing person’s case! Discovering who the people around them are, their lives and secrets.
This is more a tale of motherhood than it is a mystery or thriller. The majority of this book focuses on the women trying to adjust to their changed lives. They feel like everyone else seems like the perfect mother, while they’re struggling in secret. Maybe they don’t want to go back to work or they want their husband to help them out with their baby (duh!!) or they don’t know what to do when their baby doesn’t stop crying.
I like the message, don’t get me wrong. I hate that we are always judging mothers for how they raise their children. Unless your parenting is putting your child in danger or you’re abusing them, your parenting is none of my business. Who cares whether you breastfeed or not? There’s no such thing as the perfect mother, and this book really highlighted that.
Although that is a great message to spread, and we should really all stop judging others, that’s not what I was expecting when I picked up this book. I wanted to read a thriller and be captivated by the mystery. And I wasn’t.
I decided to give this three stars. The writing was good, and the message of the May Mothers and their lives wonderful. But as a thriller this was just okay. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t very memorable either.