Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Mother, Mother

Mother, Mother by Koren Zailckas
Hardback, 363 pages

Published 16th January 2014 by HarperCollins

adult-fiction, arc-or-review, books-i-own, crime-thriller-mystery, drink-and-drugs, medical-conditions, mental-health, read, read-in-2014, realistic-fiction, really-good, suicide
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Description via Goodreads:

All is not well with the Hurst family.

There is gentle teenage daughter Violet, whose experiments with fasting and drugs land her in a psychiatric ward; eight-year-old Will who is smart, funny and caring but has already been labelled autistic and is being home-schooled; and mother Josephine, whose subtly controlling and seemingly innocent manoeuvres may just be the source of everyone else's despair.

And then there's Rose, the sister who got away. Tired of Josephine's interferences, Rose ran away from home years earlier and hasn't been heard from since. But as her mother's intentions become more terrifyingly clear, Violet begins to wonder whether something far, far worse happened to her older sister…

Mother, Mother is a story unlike any other that I've read before it. When I first read the blurb of the book, I thought it sounded fantastic - like something I would find fascinating, and it was, but it was actually so much more. This book messed with my mind, it made me unsure of who to believe, what to believe and as soon as I thought I had a stable idea of a character, I could turn the page and the author could shatter the illusion. Strangely enough, this is why it exceeded my expectations!

Mother, Mother asks us a question - what if your mother, someone you are meant to trust above all, is your worst enemy? We are introduced to the Hurst family who help us to see what could happen. We're introduced to the points of view of Josephine and Douglas Hurst's two children - Violet, a teenage girl who enjoys experimenting with drugs and ends up in a psychiatric ward and her younger brother Will, who is homeschooled as he has been diagnosed with autism and seizures. There was another daughter in the family, Rose, who ran away years earlier. One night after taking drugs, Violet claims to see Rose, but is swiftly admitted into hospital. After receiving a letter from her, Violet tries to investigate what really went on with Rose. 

It's difficult for me to say much about this book without giving anything away, so I will try not to mention any particular events or happenings. I was particularly interested in Rose's experience at the psychiatric hospital, as it seemed quite genuine and I also think that I connected with her above all of the other characters, she is the one that I trusted the most.  I did however, also become very interested in Will's way of thinking - it was clear that he didn't think in the same way as others of his age, but the mystery of whether or not it was nature or nurture really  fascinated me.

Other than that, alI can say is that the whole book seems is full of twists and turns, the author cleverly swaying your emotions and trust, surprising you until the last minute. Zailckas seems to have a fantastic psychological knowledge and certainly knows how to write thrillers like this one. I found all of the characters to be fascinating, each different and fighting their own personal battles - even the support characters, such as Detective Flores, Imogene, Finch and their mother. Although we did meet several characters, each felt important and as though they each added value and substance to the story. 

I hope it's clear from my review that this is a book that I'd certainly recommend. I haven't read many books that I can compare this one to, but I would definitely like to read more books that are written like this and leave such an impact. The only book that compares to this, impact/afterthought-wise is Room by Emma Donoghue. I would recommend this to anyone because to be honest, I think a lot of different people will enjoy this - I'd imagine that the fan base will be spread very diversely. I truly look forward to seeing what Koren Zailckas comes out with next!


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