Saturday, October 5, 2013

Review: Mother, Mother by Koren Zalickas

Publisher: Crown (Random House)
Pages: 384
Received: Received a copy from Random House Canada in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: September 17, 2013
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Goodreads Synopsis:

From Koren Zailckas, author of the iconic memoir SMASHED: an electrifying debut novel about a family being torn apart by the woman who claims to love them most

Josephine Hurst has her family under control. With two beautiful daughters, a brilliantly intelligent son, a tech-guru of a husband and a historical landmark home, her life is picture perfect. She has everything she wants; all she has to do is keep it that way. But living in this matriarch’s determinedly cheerful, yet subtly controlling domain hasn’t been easy for her family, and when her oldest daughter, Rose, runs off with a mysterious boyfriend, Josephine tightens her grip, gradually turning her flawless home into a darker sort of prison.

Resentful of her sister’s newfound freedom, Violet turns to eastern philosophy, hallucinogenic drugs, and extreme fasting, eventually landing herself in the psych ward. Meanwhile, her brother Will shrinks further into a world of self-doubt. Recently diagnosed with Aspergers and epilepsy, he’s separated from the other kids around town and is homeschooled to ensure his safety. Their father, Douglas, finds resolve in the bottom of the bottle—an addict craving his own chance to escape. Josephine struggles to maintain the family’s impeccable façade, but when a violent incident leads to a visit from child protective services, the truth about the Hursts might finally be revealed.

Written with the style, dark wit and shrewd psychological insight that made SMASHED a bestseller, Zailckas’s first novel is unforgettable. In the spirit of classic suspense novels by Shirley Jackson and Daphne DuMaurier, MOTHER, MOTHER is the terrifying and page-turning story of a mother’s love gone too far, and the introduction of a commanding new voice in fiction.

My Review:

This book was creepy and scary because of how real it is, thinking that there are people like that out there. The story is told from the perspectives of Josephine's teenage daughter and son, both with different views on things. This is a story about a woman who believes everything is perfect and will stop at nothing to keep it that way. As the story slowly unravels many secrets are revealed that show you the way people act in public could be completely different behind closed doors.

This story truly creeped me out, as a reader you don't know what is actually happening and what story is the truth until you get closer to the end and you start understanding more. Violet's story was interesting, she sees that her older sister has gotten away and she longs for that same freedom, though she wants to be able to help her brother as well. The stories that you hear from Violet are distrubing, but interspersed are Will's views on things, and it's actually scary how he views his life.

Will has been diagnosed with epilepsy and Aspergers and is now homescooled by his mother Josephine, who seems to know best. The way Josephine acts with her family and outsiders would definitely creep any normal person out, I don't know anyone who would really do things like that but the idea that someone like her could be out there makes me wonder about people I know and if I really know everything about them.

This story felt like a puzzle to me, slowly trying to work through what is real and what is not when you have two completely different views and beliefs. You get to a point in this book where you just need to keep reading as everything unravels so you can find out what exactly happens next and how this family deals with all the secrets that were hidden.

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