Mother, Mother

Mother, Mother

A Novel

Book - 2014 | First paperback edition.
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From Koren Zailckas, author of the iconic memoir SMASHED: an electrifying debut novel about a family being torn apart by the woman who claims to love them most
Josephine Hurst has her family under control. With two beautiful daughters, a brilliantly intelligent son, a tech-guru of a husband, and a historical landmark home, her life is picture perfect. But living in this matriarch's determinedly cheerful, yet subtly controlling domain hasn't been easy for her family, and when her oldest daughter, Rose, runs off with a mysterious boyfriend, Josephine tightens her grip, gradually turning her flawless home into a darker sort of prison.

Resentful of her sister's newfound freedom, Violet turns to eastern philosophy, hallucinogenic drugs, and extreme fasting, eventually landing herself in a psych ward. Meanwhile, her brother, Will, recently diagnosed with Asperger's, shrinks further into a world of self-doubt. Their father, Douglas, finds resolve in the bottom of a bottle--an addict craving his own chance to escape. Josephine struggles to maintain the family's impeccable façade, but when a violent incident leads to a visit from child protective services, the truth about the Hursts might finally be revealed.

Now with Extra Libris material, including a reader's guide and bonus content
Publisher: New York : Broadway Books, [2014]
Edition: First paperback edition.
Copyright Date: ©2013
ISBN: 9780385347259
Branch Call Number: ZAI
Characteristics: 382 pages


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Sep 25, 2018

I feel nothing but revulsion for this pamphet-book that tells, but doesn't show. Took me 4 days to read 75 pages. Stinker: down.

Cynthia_N Oct 31, 2016

What a wild ride this story was! I was able to figure out part of the mystery but not all of it. It was painful to read how Will was used to support his mother's twisted views.

May 30, 2015

Psychological drama about a domineering mother and those within her circle. The story is told by her two youngest: A boy who is totally dependent on his mom and she can do no wrong by him, and his 16yr old sister, who is just starting to become independent and rebels against her family. A psychological roller coaster of manipulation, domination and control. Very good and well written and with the sort of knowledge that leads to believe this is based on true events.

Jan 20, 2014

Started out really liking this book, but for me it lost steam midway thru. The mother had control issues to put it mildly and no one in the family seemed to relate to each other. Will, maybe because of his age, was the most damaged. His mother had plenty of practice on his two sisters. Poor kid did not have a chance. The story became bizarre and for me, less believable. Still, a good read.

KateHillier Dec 20, 2013

You are glued to this thing once you start, let me tell you! The mother, Josephine, in this story is one of the most insane people I've encountered in literature! Things just escalate and when you think there's no way she'll go that far she does. Near the end I was shocked almost as much as I wasn't by her actions. It almost reminds me of Gone Girl in the madness of what goes on but you are almost forewarned here unlike in Gone Girl.

The family exists for Josephine to look good or manipulate things to her satisfaction. In that regard the characters only exist as opponents to that (Violet) or disciples (Will). Whether or not you like the characters - and I think everyone is ruined in some way here, even those who try not to get involved - it is a gripping read.

ChristchurchLib Nov 12, 2013

"Sixteen-year-old Violet has been committed to a mental hospital after supposedly injuring Will, her 12-year-old brother; Will is both brainwashed and autistic; older sister Rose has run away; dad's an alcoholic. And mom? Mom's the powerful force behind all that devastation, both sadistic and narcissistic as she manipulates others for her own reasons. Violet, despite her institutionalisation, is perhaps the most stable, but as she tries to discover clues to Rose's disappearance (and what really happened the night Will got hurt), she invites more violence into her life. Told from both Violet and Will's points of view, Mother, Mother is disturbing in its revelations of abuse and riveting in its slow unfolding." Thrillers and Suspense November 2013 newsletter

Nov 10, 2013

I thought this was a very well written book. The topic is especially creepy knowing a little about the author. I read that in her real life, she had a mother similar to Josephine. I liked the alternating perspectives--one chapter from Violet's view and the next from Will's view.

amodolo Oct 04, 2013

This book was creepy because of how real it is. Knowing that there are people like Josephine out there is scary and makes you wonder what you really know about people.

I really liked how the story is told from the perspectives of Violet and Will because it shows how their lives are different from the way they are each treated.

Koren does a great job slowly revealing pieces of the story, making this a sort of puzzle for the reader to unravel and put back together.

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