So I’ve been reading books I wouldn’t normally read lately, just because I’m querying agents for a novel and I’m trying to figure them out according to the things they like to read. The Mothers is one of these reads. It’s about something I wouldn’t normally be interested in: teen pregnancy, the impact of abortion in a religious community, family, betrayal, depression, etc. I wouldn’t have chosen it for myself. But there’s a lot of buzz about the book and an agent I queried with my novel loved this, so I gave it a shot.
I have to agree that it’s very well-written. The images are fresh and the language isn’t at all pretentious as it tries to be evocative. It’s just the subject matter, really, that I couldn’t get into. And there’s a total lack of humour in it, which makes sense, but didn’t endear it to me. I don’t understand (as a female myself) why so few women write literary fiction with a humorous tone. It can be dark humour, that’s fine. But why is every other book I’m reading nowadays such a huge emotional drain? I know women who love feeling emotionally spent when they watch a film or read a book, but I like feeling refreshed, as if my worldview has expanded. I like feeling inspired, I like feeling puzzled by a book, thinking it over for days. And I haven’t been getting it lately.
I think so much of my own life contradicts the scenarios in this book, that it’s hard to relate to it. That’s just me, of course. Other women might think different. But I wish–just once–someone would write a story about a woman who doesn’t want children and not make it seem like her life is the saddest shit ever. Please. Someone. One story about a woman who doesn’t have a baby when everyone keeps saying she should and she’s fine with it. You could say that’s how things end for Nadia Turner in this book, but that’s not how it feels at the end. I don’t buy it. Nadia just seems sad the whole way through. Sad and lonely and forever haunted by Baby. I don’t think every single woman feels that way. I definitely don’t. And I’d like to see more female characters in books who have other problems besides babies and relationships.
Just my two cents. I think I might have to read a war novel next to clear my head, lol.