Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Perfect Mother by Nina Darnton

Published November 25, 2014 by Plume

When an American exchange student is accused of murder, her mother will stop at nothing to save her

A midnight phone call shatters Jennifer Lewis’s carefully orchestrated life. Her daughter, Emma, who’s studying abroad in Spain, has been arrested after the brutal murder of another student. Jennifer rushes to her side, certain the arrest is a terrible mistake and determined to do whatever is necessary to bring Emma home. But as she begins to investigate the crime, she starts to wonder whether she ever really knew her daughter. The police charge Emma, and the press leaps on the story, exaggerating every sordid detail. One by one, Emma’s defense team, her father, and finally even Jennifer begin to have doubts.

My Thoughts…

The Perfect Mother started with a midnight phone call.   That was the only part that I was expecting.   I thought this would be a book about the judicial system of Spain and how an American is unfairly treated.    I was wrong.   This is not a book about Emma, it is more the story of Jennifer, the mother.   It is a story on how she had always taken care of her family, sometimes to the extreme, and how it has made Emma the student and person she has become.   There were points in the book that I stopped and questioned my own mothering skills and how I would have handled the same situation.  I found this happening often and realizing that “fixing it” does not always have the long term effects that a mother hopes for. 

Throughout the story I really felt for Jennifer.   There were times it felt like everyone was against her.   Emma certainly was not helping herself, her husband was in the US, the court system was working against her, and even her PI and lawyer sometimes seemed to be against her.  Jennifer did wake up and realize that sometimes you have to take off your rose colored glasses and look harder at yourself and how you are living your life to see the truth.  I feel like she is coming out of this horrible adventure a better person and definitely a better mom.  She still needs help and support but I believe she will find it now that her eyes are open.

I did not feel sorry for Emma.   She did nothing to help herself and did not appreciate those that were trying to free her.    Although, being in a foreign prison was punishment, I am not convinced that Emma has become a better person or even understands the whole picture.    I feel like she needs a lot of help and the only way she will get it is for someone to force her.   She does not see that there is anything wrong with herself and the way she is living her life.  

The Perfect Mother is definitely a book that shows the tougher and darker side of motherhood and the bonds between mothers and daughters.   I recommend this book.

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