The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy (ARC Review)

The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy
Publisher: Harper Books (May 1, 2018)
Description 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.

My (first) birth story in a nutshell: I developed preeclampsia, had eclampsia by the time I checked in to be induced, baby did some poopin' in utero, and after 12 hours of labor/putting it off/much to my disappointment - I had a c-section. The mother's group which the novel centers around has a ritual of everyone telling their birth story, so I thought I'd share the short version of mine! Dealing with the recovery, hormones, sleeplessness and EVERYTHING after becoming a first time mom was really, really hard - as it is for the characters in this book. Many new moms, myself included, join a group of mothers to help each other through the difficult transition to motherhood. 
Being able to identify with this group as a whole and each woman's struggles, at least in some small way, pulled me into this story. Molloy takes on the themes of modern motherhood with some seriousness and a lot of satire. Most of the chapters open with one of those ubiquitous baby website emails chronicling the stages of your child. Missives that usually drive parents mad: 'time to get on a schedule!' 'more tummy time!' 'get back in the bedroom with your partner' or, maddeningly, 'get in your pre-pregnancy jeans!' They are juxtaposed against what start as everyday newborn woes with the 'May Mothers' group, and then the unthinkable when one of the babies is abducted.
The narrative quickly goes into full on thriller mode and the rabbit hole these women go down as they try to cope with postpartum delirium, as well as deliriously try to figure out the crime. It is certainly a fun read, I finished in few days, was eager to follow the plot twists and DID NOT predict the ending. 
Although, like many thrillers, I didn't fully connect with any one character on a deeper level and, at times, they bordered on caricatures. They had a lot going on - a rape survivor, a woman in hiding from a public scandal, a retired actress with a stalker, a stay at home dad... I feel as if the novel only scratched the surface of their lives, in service of moving the plot forward. Though, I absolutely identified with their plights as new mothers and women in the world (there are obvious feminist themes relatable to most women) which made this thriller a cut above others I've read. 
This would be a perfect summer beach read. I would compare it to another favorite brain candy domestic suspense novel, The Couple Next Door, unlike the pervasive comparisons to Big Little Lies, which I think is more literary than thriller. On that note, I will say that this looks like it will make a terrific screen adaptation, and I look forward to Kerry Washington's starring and producing! Perhaps we will get to follow the character's individual story lines in more detail. If, like me, you must read the book before the movie - definitely pick up The Perfect Mother.
Incidentally, this is a May Book of the Month pick - if you are interested, you could get this one for free (or any of their current and past selections) if you sign up using my link and code: YESPLZ
Thank you so much to the awesome people at Harper Books for an advance copy to review!


  1. It's always fun to read the book before the movie gets made and this one does sound like a great summer read. I can't wait to get into that beach/sunshine, brain-candy mode!

  2. Not too long now, school is almost out!