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Mother, Mother Hardcover – 16 Jan 2014


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 364 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (16 Jan. 2014)
  • ISBN-10: 0007547382
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007547388
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 3.9 x 23.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 345,812 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

‘Tense, shocking and terrifyingly good’ Closer

‘A dark and witty novel’ Company

‘Unputdownable. An extraordinary book’ Elizabeth Forbes, author of Nearest Thing to Crazy

If you liked We Need to Talk About Kevin, this spiky, disconcerting debut novel is for you.’ Glamour

‘Superbly paced and structured, with dialogue worthy of Lena Dunham, Mother, Mother is an engrossing, and finally shocking, read.’ Guardian

‘Josephine is a chillingly, convincing self-centered narcissist. The very different ways that the three children are threatened by their ‘perfect’ mother and fight to survive her attentions make this an original and cleverly paced psychological thriller’ Daily Mail

About the Author

Koren Zailckas is an internationally bestselling writer, and has contributed to the Guardian, U.S. News & World Report, Glamour, Jane and Seventeen magazine. She currently lives with her family in the Catskills mountains of New York.


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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By JK TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 28 Feb. 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Set in New York State Mother Mother tells the story of the Hurst family. Mother, Father, Rose, William and Violet. If there's a more dysfunctional family on this planet I hope no-one is unfortunate enough to meet up with them!.

The chapters alternate between the view point of Violet and William with each giving just enough of a clue towards solving and explaining a slow building mystery. The mystery is; what exactly is wrong with the Hurst family?. Is it possible to blame eating disorders, drugs, mental illness, disappearance, alcoholism and the implosion of a marriage all on one person?. Could any mother be devious, unfeeling and psychotic enough to inflict so much damage?. The novel takes its own slow time to fill in the gaps and answer the questions and even then there's some uncertainty and things might not be quite what they seem.

I couldn't agree with the Amazon blurb comparing Mother Mother to 'We Need to Talk about Kevin' and 'Room'. This is a novel that runs a similar path because it's influenced by them but it's not as well constructed and nowhere near as dark and violent.

I found it took me a while to get into the story because there's a lot of scene setting and explanation at the start. There's also a slight problem with the dialogue which tends to be spoken in one voice making it difficult to distinguish the characters. If the author didn't make it clear who was speaking you wouldn't necessarily know.

All in all Mother Mother is quite formulaic but has enough disturbing scenery, some of it graphic, to build a decent level of tension and keep the reader both shocked and hooked into the story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Chris Hall TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 5 July 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
First published back in September of 2013, ‘Mother, Mother’ formed the second book to be published by American writer Koren Zailckas – the first being her critically acclaimed memoir ‘Smashed’ (2005) which detailed Zailckas’ decade-long struggle with alcohol abuse.

DLS Synopsis:
Josephine Hurst didn’t so much rule the household as she did forcibly mould each and every one of the members of the family into exactly what she wanted them to be. And this had eventually, and somewhat inevitably, led to the gradual collapse of the entire family unit.

However, the collapse all seemed to start from one particular point. The night that twenty-year-old Rose ran away. Now, after a whole year had passed, Rose was still out of their lives. Although every now and again things would happen that Rose would get the blame for. Like when Douglas’ car got keyed, or when something was found broken. The finger would automatically be pointed at the absent girl. The one who must undoubtedly have an axe to grind. But no one ever saw her.

For twelve-year-old William Hurst, his mother was everything. She was his protector. The one he looked up to. The one he loved and adored. The single most important person in his life. Josephine had been home-schooling Will ever since he received his dual diagnosis nine months ago. It had taken a while, with visits to numerous specialists before Josephine was happy with the diagnosis. But now she had something to hang on to. Autistic spectrum disorder with comorbid epilepsy. It was the key to his special attention. It made him so much more vulnerable. It made him need Josephine so much more. It was perfect.

But William’s sixteen-year-old sister, Violet Hurst, was far from what Josephine wanted in a daughter.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Denise4891 TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 2 Mar. 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Mother, Mother is a disturbing and unsettling account of dysfunctional family life which has been compared to We Need To Talk About Kevin and Gone Girl – and I can see why.

The Hursts are a family in crisis. Dad Douglas is an alcoholic who seems to duck out of any responsibility for his family’s
troubles. Elder daughter Rose has been missing for a year and her sister Violet has just been committed to a psychiatric hospital, high as a kite and accused of stabbing her brother Will - as if 12 year old Will doesn’t have enough on his plate, with his autism, epilepsy and social anxiety which result in him being withdrawn from mainstream education to be home-schooled by his mother Josephine.

An yes Josephine – now she’s a real piece of work! Describing her as a narcissist doesn’t really do her justice. She’s manipulative, deceitful and conniving and her relationship with poor Will borders on the incestuous. She’s a fabulous character (albeit a totally OTT one) and I’d love to see her portrayed on film, but I’m not sure just at the moment which actress could do her justice. Of the other characters Will and Violet are the most developed, both of them a therapist’s (worst) nightmare.

As the family’s troubles reach crisis point and the mystery surrounding Rose’s disappearance intensifies, the tension is really cranked up and I was hooked, racing through the book in two days. You certainly won’t like these people (although Will and Violet do have their share of redeeming features) but if your experience of reading Mother, Mother is anything like mine, you won’t rest until you know what becomes of them.
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By Mrs. C. Swarfield TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 18 May 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a bad mommy book. Josephine - the mother plays nasty littlr mind games with her brood to manipulate them with various degrees of success.

The three children all survive as best they can in thier own way. Rose has just turned eighteen and flees the family home effectively disappearing after leaving a note of her intention to live with her boyfriend. Left in the family home are 16 year old Violet and 12 year old Will. Violet trips on physcedlics, meditates and reads books with lotus blossom or puffy clouds on the cover, all the while dabbling in excessive fasting. Once Violet starts disobeying her mother Josephine finds a way to have committed to a mental institution. Will, who may or may not be slightly autistic is firmly in the clutches of mommy dearest. Home schooled, he is rarely out of his mothers sight. Josephine does everything for him including laying his clothes out the night before. Will is very protective of his mother and will do anything not to disapoint her.

The father is usesless - an on off recovering alholic he is merely a bystander where his children are concerned.

The relationship between Will and Josephine is by far the most disturbing. If Will displeases her she gives him the silent treatment and makes him do everything for himself. A twisted and smug nightmare of a mother.

The denouement comes when Violet returns home after being released from the mental facility. Things move swiftly from there. A page turner that is gripping.
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