Perfect Mother (Molloy)

The Perfect Mother 
Aimee Molloy, 2018
336 pp.

A night out — a few hours of fun…
What could possibly go wrong?
Some people are so good at making perfect look easy.

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 taken 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 is 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 after Midas goes missing, damaging secrets are exposed, marriages are tested, and friendships are formed and fractured.

Unfolding over the course of thirteen fraught days and culminating in an exquisite and unexpected twist, The Perfect Mother is the perfect book for our times—a nuanced and addictively readable story that exposes the truth of modern mothers’ lives as it explores the power of an ideal that is based on a lie. (From the publisher.)

Kerry Washington of TV's Scandal fame has purchased the film rights.

Author Bio
Birth—ca. 1971-72
Raised—Buffalo, New York, USA
Education—B.A., Duke University; M.A., New York University
Currently—lives in Brooklyn, New York City, New York

Aimee Molloy has collaborated on seven books, including Maziar Bahari's Then They Came for Me: A Family's Story of Love, Captivity, and Survival and Pam Cope's Jantsen's Gift: A True Story of Grief, Rescue, and Grace. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and two daughters. The Perfect Wife is her first novel. (From the publisher.)

Book Reviews
Like most characters in thrillers, many of the May Mothers have secrets, some of which dilute the urgency of the investigation’s timeline. And Molloy repeatedly generates suspense by depriving the reader of information (as opposed to, say, having actually suspenseful stuff happen). But I was hooked anyway and stayed up late to finish. What do you call a book like that? Oh yeah: a page-turner. And it’s a rare and wonderful thing.
Katherine Heiny - New York Times Book Review

An electrifying thriller—and a subtle, savvy skewering of the endless expectations of modern motherhood (Book of the Week).

A desperate, thrilling mystery that you’ll think you have all figured out—until you realize you don’t.
Marie Claire

[It's Molloy's] characters’ anxieties that give the story life and substance. Molloy doesn’t fully earn her book’s big twist, but her clever narrative… heightens tension… while spotlighting the solitary struggles of motherhood.
Publishers Weekly

Impressive and satisfying.… This gripping and fresh novel will provoke as much thought as it does excitement.

As the investigation gets underway, it seems that every member of the group has some pretty big secrets to hide.… Readers who can’t get enough of suburban suspense …will want to give this a try. —Rebecca Vnuk

(Starred review) Molloy, a master of clever misdirection, deftly explores the expectations, insecurities, and endless judgement that accompany motherhood in this fast-paced thriller…. Mesmerizing.
Kirkus Reviews

Discussion Questions
We'll add publisher questions if and when they're available; in the meantime, use our LitLovers talking points to help start a discussion for THE PERFECT WIFE … then take off on your own:

1. How well does Aimee Molloy describe the issues of first-time motherhood—exhaustion and isolation, to name only two? If you're a mother do you relate to (even remember?) all the concerns and anxieties talked about in The Perfect Mother?

2. What do we learn about the various members of the May Mothers early on, before Midas goes missing? As chapters shift among various perpsectives, what else is revealed about each of them? How would you describe the individual characters? Is there a particular one you admire more than others …or find more interesting ...or more problematic?

3. Talk about the way the police bungle the investigation.

4. In an online interview, Aimee Molloy talks about her own, real-life support group, September Babies, and her belief that if something happened to one of the children, "all the women [would be] smearing our faces with war paint and lighting our torches and going out into the streets of Brooklyn.… We would not rest." Do you have a devoted group of friends like that—whose members have each other's backs?

5. Whom did you first suspect? How does Molloy use misdirection to put readers off the scent? Were you surprised by the twist at the end?

6. What's the significance of the book's title? Who is "the perfect mother"?

(Questions by LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online and off, with attribution. Thanks.)

top of page (summary)

Site by BOOM Boom Supercreative

LitLovers © 2020