Tuesday, February 28, 2023

But it feels just like drowning: MOTHERED.

MotheredMothered by Zoje Stage
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

In the midst of the pandemic, Grace is not particularly thrilled when her mother, Jackie, moves in with her. But Jackie has recently lost her husband and been ill and Grace is unemployed and could use help with her mortgage. Soon, though, stuck in the house with her mother, Grace feels claustrophobic, flashing back to her unhappy childhood with her mother and her late sister. She starts having horribly realistic nightmares and clashing with her mother over her hobbies, which oddly include catfishing people online. As things come to a head, Jackie accuses Grace of something unspeakable, and Grace feels unable to delineate her dreams from reality.

Ugh, I had to slog through this one. I didn't really realize it was written with a pandemic setting and wow, it's fully pandemic-centric, with COVID playing a central role. I don't mind pandemic books, but I just did not feel like reading a gloomy book about sad, depressing pandemic themes and unhappy, mean characters.

Even worse, MOTHERED took the unreliable narrator trope too far for me. Between Grace's nightmares and Jackie's passive aggressive anger, I couldn't tell what was happening and wow, that got annoying really fast. The book moves so slow--Grace and Jackie fight, Grace has bad dreams that may or not be real, and then it repeats. There's a weird side plot with Grace catfishing women that does not really make sense, as well as pieces about Grace's missing dad. Then there's the focus on her deceased twin sister, which is central to the plot, but almost seems grotesquely portrayed at times (Hope was disabled) and done in poor taste.

I just wanted to get to the end, but then there was no real payoff that explained things. Ugh! Overall, MOTHERED just annoyed me.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley and Thomas & Mercer in return for an unbiased review. It releases 3/1/2023!

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