The School for Good Mothers

I think this may be one of the most polarizing books I have ever read. Any time I would post it, my DM folder would light up. This is very dark, and if you have a young child or are pregnant I might skip this one… I am not a mom and it still broke my heart in half. A lot of people hated this book but I think it takes a good book to make you feel so many emotions. Critics are calling this a modern classic and I would tend to agree with them. I could see this book becoming curriculum some day. Frida Liu is a new mom. She is struggling with just about everything. Her husband has left her for a younger woman. Her career is in shambles. She is falling apart. One day, she has a very bad day and does a very bad thing: leaves her daughter unattended for two and a half hours. A neighbor calls the police and they take her daughter away. The only way to get her back is to go away for a year to a Big Brother-like institution where she will learn to be a better mom. What ensues next is where the Handmaid’s Tale stuff kicks in. I don’t want to ruin anything so I won’t tell you anything else. But it’s traumatic. I couldn’t stop reading because I needed to know what happened. Would Frida be deemed good? Would she get her daughter back? Throughout the book, other themes are introduced. There is sexism (and a school for good fathers too), critiques of the wellness industry, and more. I did not enjoy reading this book, but I still loved it in a way. I think that’s the best way to describe it: a very good, upsetting book.

Author: Jessamine Chan