This book is a masterclass on making characters come alive on the page. Cara Romero is a Dominican mother and immigrant trying to get a job in the middle of the Great Recession in New York. In a matter of 12 sessions (each chapter = one session), she spills the secrets of her life to a career counselor who will ultimately decide whether she is job-ready. In the course of these sessions, we learn about Cara's family of origin, the people who depend on her, and the depth of her grief for her estranged son whose sexuality she had trouble understanding. This is a loving story about the difficulty - and necessity - of change.
If you are interested in the concept of material things having spirit, read this book! Tiya Miles does a gorgeous job of describing how a mother's love was passed down through generations of enslaved women via a fabric sack. This book also addresses the archival erasure which prevents us from ever truly knowing some families' stories. Miles uses her expertise as a historian and an empath to speculate on the ways in which the inherited sack might have carried a mother's hopes of giving her daughter a chance at survival and resistance during a period of American history where, for Black women, such things were against the odds.
Holy cow, this book is fantastic! It's beautiful and terrifying and brilliant. When Frida has one very bad day, she is in danger of losing her baby daughter. To regain her parental rights, Frida is enrolled in "The School for Good Mothers".
This is absolutely my favorite book of 2022.
I am in awe of the story Chan spins as it provides a profound insight into just how far we'll go for our children. The book is astonishing, fast-paced, and deeply moving.
If you liked Arnett's first novel, Mostly Dead Things, you'll love this one! She does flawed characters so well - I'm able to hate them and feel for them depending on the page. As someone with two moms, I found it fist-pumpingly refreshing to see a very real, albeit not the most successful, depiction of lesbian parenthood. Our main character, ripped away from the impulse to make queer characters 'good,' is messy and brutal; I couldn't put her down!
Is the dead-end life of suburbia making an exhausted and frustrated mother believe her canines are sharper and her body is starting to sprout a tail capable of wagging? Or is she actually transforming into a furry beast, desperate to sate her wanderlust by loping into the night of her neighborhood, snapping the necks of small creatures between her jaws filled with the rage of someone once so full of ambition? Either way, it is capable of making you say *WHAT THE HELL* at 1AM because the character is so ravenously unhinged.
A Korean-American physicist goes as far as a research facility in Antarctica to escape the reach of her family and the mental illness that has been passed down through the generations. But when a literal ghost of her past appears in the snow, its beckoning from beyond pushes her to return home to a catatonic mother who left behind scribblings and carvings of their inherited folklore. Is it the ramblings of a troubled woman, or the secret revelations of a lost sister left behind in Korea?
Beginning with a hot summer trip in the middle of the city, Natsu hosts her sister and young niece, the latter who refuses to talk but spills her heart out about the fears of puberty onto the pages of her journal. Ten years later and in another sweltering summer, Natsu begins a rocky path towards motherhood as her fears of growing older and lonelier mirror that of her niece's past. Her journey reveals the complications that stand in the way of a single woman desiring a life that does not depend on the conventional company of men, especially in a world so ready to dispose of women at a certain age.
This speculative fiction starts off with a chilling home invasion (which had me double-checking every closet in my house), followed by a twisted path of paranoia, doppelgangers, and the varying limits of a mother's love when pushed to unspeakable brinks. The journey of the overwhelmed main character - explored in quick, disjointed segments - only raises more questions than answers, as well as the sneaking suspicion that she may just be losing her mind and dragging the reader along with her into the abyss.