“The weight of what has been lost is always heavier than what remains.”
A beautiful book with a real soul at its center, The Mothers is unlike anything I've read before. It starts with a teenager recovering from the loss of her mother's suicide, who then does the desperate and ends her own baby's life through an abortion. The book is surprisingly layered as it touches upon the girl's life as she grows up, the father's life as he grows and mourns for his child and his youth, and the best friend who they ultimately kept in the dark for so long. Above this its about growth and not living up to potential. Its about acceptance but grief overshadowing everything forever. Its about moving on but staying behind.
I read so many dramas where cheap gimmicks are used for heartstring tugs, but this isn't it. This is realism and soul and heart. It doesn't shy away from giving the main character selfish traits that touch everything she touches. It doesn't shy away from the grim realities of her mourning father, or the underachievements of Lucas, who wished to be so much more. It doesn't save unrealistic purity for a pure-hearted friend. Really it's life, and life is unfair and unkind and doesn't discriminate.
That said, it's not just a depressing ride, but a human character study. There is a degree and form of happiness in the living of their lives. They must live with the past and how it haunts but that doesn't mean the same decision wouldn't have been made again.
Beautifully written and powerfully prosed, the story is unique again when it has older mothers and women of the church, the 'Upper Room' begin sections with musings and reflections. They are in a way biddy bodies who gossip and wonder, but they are also wise and kind and filled with wonder of life even though a lot of it has passed them by. The book isn't just about two teenagers kids and their choices - it's about adults and life and growth and self-reflection.
I didn't care much for the main character because her selfishness in a few situations was repulsive, but I liked the author painting a picture of a realistic person. People like that exist everywhere, so it's good to see their real stories. I liked how the author later acknowledges grief men feel if their children are killed through abortion too, and it wasn't just shied over and made to be only about women power, hear me roar kind of stuff. He wasn't made to be blameless in all certainly, but he was made realistic too and nothing would work out better than that.
Recommended for everyone because it makes you think, it makes you wonder, and it makes you feel - but genuinely feel, not cheesy and contrived dramas with predictable formulas that only recycle the tried and true that brings forth emotional mimicking instead of genuine emotional living.
An added touch of fun was I read this through a book box subscription. Literary Subscription box sent me this and two other books for review, as well as goodies inside. The author included tons of stickies explaining different names, places, and inspirations. It made it feel like I was reading the book while randomly calling up the author to chat with them about random things when I read them.