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Monday, April 8, 2013

The Mothers: A Novel

Jennifer Gilmore's The Mothers: A Novel sounded so lovely and poignant that I had to pick it up for my vacation reading. I may have been away, but I was a busy reading bee!

Jesse and get husband Ramon can't have children. They seek out adoption, but this road is far more fraught than how simple it sounds. The process is an emotional roller coaster for the couple, filled with the ups of meeting others in their position and the downs of feeling out of control of their own situation. As birth mothers begin to contact the couple, Jesse reaches a new dimension of emotionality as women take advantage of her emotional state and disappointment becomes a daily war.

This book is super emotional and not for one who cries easily. (Then again, maybe it's just the book for you!) It's a rough subject--infertility is difficult and misunderstood by many. Adoption is even more hard to fathom if it's not something you want to or need to do. People often say the most asinine and idiotic things to parents (especially those-to-be) in the midst of difficult times, and this book looks at this. It is told in first person from Jesse's point of view, so we also experience these emotions from her angle.

I will be the first to say that this is an experience through which I have not yet been, so I had to remind myself when reading to just sit with Jesse's emotions and to not judge them. I can't understand her pain so it was important that I just experience it. I was angry alongside them as they dealt with the emotional warfare brought on them by needy birthmothers who were less than honest, and I looked forward to cheering for them when the inevitable happy ending came around.

My one major issue with this novel is the abruptness of the ending. I realize the intention of the author was not to entirely give us a happy ending but rather to have us deal with the long and winding road of the journey. I would have liked, however, to have been able to bask in the joy of Jesse's and Ramon's elation and love of their new child. Rather, the ending felt rushed an didn't leave me with a sense of completeness.

Yours to own! Kindle on left, hard copy on right:

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