Sunday, March 10, 2013

Review: The Mothers by Jennifer Gilmore

Jesse and Ramon are a happy, loving couple but after years trying to get pregnant they turn to adoption, relieved to think that once they navigate the bureaucratic path to parenthood they will finally be able to bring a child into their family. But nothing prepared them for the labyrinthine process—for the many training sessions and approvals, for the ocean of advice, for the birthmothers who would contact them but not choose them, for the women who would call claiming that they had chosen Jesse and Ramon but weren’t really pregnant. All the while, husband and wife grapple with notions of race, class, culture, and changing family dynamics as they navigate the difficult, absurd, and often heart-breaking terrain of domestic open adoption (Goodreads)

 This book was brought to my attention last fall as one I would really love. The rep who had me in my mind was correct! I did really enjoy this one. It was right up my alley. It was indeed a character driven story of Jesse and Ramon and their quest to create a family. With my own quest for having a second child, I identified in the couple's views on the what ifs of adoption. Though my husband and I have not explored it as heavily as Jesse and Ramon, the questions that arise when you are venturing down this road are heavy and endless, it seems. 

Their story is laid out in a somewhat scattered way, going back and forth in time to when the couple met, to their childhoods, to their own experiences with their own mothers, to their current experiences with meeting other couples seeking adoption. At times it leaves the reader feeling a bit vacant when trying to grasp the emotions of the characters but most often, the author ties it all in.

The overall feel of the book was sad but hopeful. I enjoyed it in the sense that I looked forward to getting back to it and caring about the fate of the characters. It's not a light read, though moments of humor are sprinkled in. You find that the couple are good people and you ultimately want them to succeed and find the family they crave. 

Another layer to the book is the question of motherhood. What is a mother? What makes a mother good? Jesse and Ramon's mothers are vastly different and they explore where they came from and assess how they will be as parents.

Overall, I recommend this for fans of fiction with a familial drama plot line. It's well written, intense at times but hopeful overall. 

Author Website: Jennifer Gilmore
Release Date: April 2013
Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child


Anonymous said...

Adoption books always break my heart. I mean if the end result is good then great, but the struggles to bring a child into a family are so wrenching when for others it is impossibly easy.

Ann Summerville said...

It sounds like this one would bring out lots of emotion.

Tales of Whimsy said...

Sounds deep and good.