The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy
Crime Fiction/Thriller; 336 pgs
I am on a roll reading good thrillers as of late. The Perfect Mother was no exception. The May Mothers are a group of mothers with children born in May who met online and decided to create an in-person group, meeting at a local park twice a week. Winnie reluctantly joined, never quite feeling like she belonged, but not quite wanting to stop attending either. At one meeting, the women decide to plan a night out at a bar, no children allowed. Winnie is not sure she wants to go, but the other women, especially Nell, put the pressure on, even arranging for her to have a babysitter, and so she goes. That one night out, the first evening away from their babies, and Midas, Winnie’s son, goes missing.
While the media has a field day with Winnie’s true identity and accusing the police of botching up the investigation fright from the start, several of the May mothers decide to take matters into their own hands and show their support to Winnie by finding out who kidnapped Midas.
The novel jumps from several different characters, offering a more rounded glimpse of the events that have taken place, both past and present. No one is without their secrets and faults, as we soon learn. I really enjoyed the views into these other women’s lives. The author has a real gift for drawing out each of her character’s feelings and anxieties. I found them all easy to relate to. Each of these women strive to be the perfect mother but fall short—because there is no such thing.
In today’s society, the media plays a large role in how we interpret and shape our opinions. This isn’t the first novel to point this out through the events that occur in the book, but Molloy does it in such a way bring it into full focus. None of the main characters is exempt from the media’s attention. To keep ratings up, the media looks for scandal in every nook and cranny, and the public eats it up, completing the cycle. One particular media celebrity seems to want to pass judgement on everyone related to the kidnapping case, even maligning the women for going out for an evening without their infants. It was appalling how many people jumped on that bandwagon. From the sensationalism to the mob mentality. We see and hear it every day in one form or another.
It is always hard to talk about the one thing I did not care for in a novel when it involves the resolution. Let’s just say there wasn’t much guesswork for me with this one, which was a tad disappointing. Things fall a little too perfectly into place in the end, and I felt like there should have been more development in that direction early on. At the same time, I still really enjoyed the novel and would definitely read more by Aimee Molloy.
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