Book Review: The Good Mother by Sinéad Moriarty

About the Book:

The Good Mother

Kate has been through the fire with her three children …

Having been left devastated and homeless after her husband’s affair and the break-up of their family, somehow she has pulled through. Though times are still tough, she’s beginning to see the start of a new life.

But when twelve-year-old Jesssica is diagnosed with cancer, Kate’s resilience is put to the ultimate test. She has an eighteen-year-old son consumed with hatred of his father, a seven-year-old who is bewildered and acting up and an ex-husband who won’t face up to his responsibilities. And in the middle of it a beloved child who is trying to be brave but is getting sicker by the day.

Kate knows she must put to one side her own fear and heartbreak and do right by her children, particularly Jessica. But maybe doing the right thing means doing the unthinkable?

My Thoughts:

Sinéad Moriarty brings us a thought provoking and heart wrenching story of love, loss and family. Kate, mother of three, is forced to deal with the break-up of her marriage. Her husband had an affair and moved out, deciding to marry the other woman. The first part of the story shows us how Kate and the children cope with this, the impact this has on the children, and how they all pull together to support one another.

The bonds between the siblings is very strong, and even though they act out in different ways, they come together to support their mother through this time. Jessica, the middle child of the three and the only girl brings a childish charm and a level of maturity that is common among children who are forced to grow up too soon. However, in her, this just makes her more likeable, and everyone’s rock. Her older brother has a more difficult time dealing with the family break-up, as he looked up to his father more than anyone else. His support system are his sister and his girlfriend, who becomes a very integral part of the family and the story. The youngest, hardly knows his father, and is confused most of the time, acting out in any way that only children can.

The beauty of the plot is that the author portrays her characters in shades of grey. There is no right or wrong in this, things just happen, and after a point, you accept that and try to move on. Forgive, learn and move on, but it is not necessary to forget. The story moves at a steady place initially, painting a picture of Kate’s life, her coping mechanisms, and the support she gets from her father. The plot thickens when Jessica, who is absolutely healthy, suddenly takes a turn for the worse, and is later diagnosed with cancer.

In reality, unless you have had to deal with such a situation by yourself, it is not easy to relate to the shock, pain and horror of someone having cancer. The author has brought out the feelings and emotions very well, making sure that the reader is able to understand them. We are taken on an emotional roller-coaster afterwards, as we follow Kate and her family as they deal with the cancer. The way it affects everyone and how Jessica deals with it form the crux of the later half of the story. There is a lot to learn from Jessica, who though a child, has an “old soul” and wisdom that goes beyond her years.

The final question that this book prompts is this: Would you love someone enough to let them go? and, if you do, can you live with the truth? These questions are food for thought and this well-written story is a gripping read to the end.

Book Review: Someone Else’s Summer by Rachel Bateman

I received a copy of this book via NetGalley.

About the Book:

Someone Else's Summer by Rachel Bateman

Anna’s always idolized her older sister, Storm. So when Storm dies in a tragic car accident on the night of her high school graduation, Anna is completely lost and her family is torn apart. That is, until she finds Storm’s summer bucket list and decides to honor her sister by having the best summer ever—which includes taking an epic road trip to the coast from her sleepy Iowa town. Setting out to do everything on Storm’s list along with her sisters best friend Cameron—the boy next door—who knew that Storm’s dream summer would eventually lead to Anna’s own self-discovery?

My Thoughts:

 This was a quick read for me, finished off in one sitting. I really enjoyed the story and the plot is quite heart wrenching and sad but well written.

The story follows Anna as she tries to deal with the loss of her sister, who was about 11 months older than her. She finds a list written by her sister, a kind of bucket list of things she had wanted to do that summer (which was just after her graduation). Anna thinks that completing the list will be the best way to remain close to her sister and her memory. Along with Cameron, their childhood friend, she sets off on a journey of adventure , self-discovery and healing. We watch them as they try to deal with their grief and come to terms with their loss, the death of Storm affecting them each in ways they never expected.

The authors brings out the emotions and feelings very well, ensuring that the reader will empathize. Though a part of the plot seemed straight forward and cliched, the author gives us a twist at the end that will change the readers perspective entirely. We meet various people, Anna’s parents, who are trying to come to terms with the loss of their elder daughter in a freak accident when she had managed to battle cancer and survive. We also meet Piper, Anna’s best friend and Jovani, her ex-boyfriend and though he seems irrelevant to the main plot, he does say some things in the end which justify his presence. Perhaps the best character of all was Anna’s aunt, who understands her and supports her the most.

This is a bitter-sweet story with a mixed ending and an assurance that everything will be alright at the end of the day. Time goes on and is the best healer.