The School For Good Mothers by Jassamine Chan
I preordered this book a long while back; yes, I still buy books and yes, probably too many but the premise of this one ticked a lot of boxes for me. I *love* speculative fiction and I thought this sounded fascinating.
The story centres around Frida who leaves her baby Harriet alone in their home; she desperately needed to finish something off at work. It was a bad day — but the punishment? Well, it’s far worse.
Frida is forced into a facility where she will learn how to become a *good* mother. She will meet other bad mothers who are becoming good, too. There’s an enormous amount to learn in this school, where mothers are paired off with toddlers they now need to look after. But these aren’t toddlers as we know them; they are highly sophisticated dolls. If Frida succeeds in her re-education over a 12 month period, she will have Harriet back again. If she doesn’t, their relationship will be terminated.
Chan writes this story with great skill. Her writing is clean and clear but by no means simplistic — it is, in fact, hugely powerful. Whilst I don’t think I was necessarily as gripped by this as I had hoped, what I think it does superbly is provide its reader with a huge amount of food for thought — it would make a superb bookclub read (which explains why it has been chosen by so many). It’s illumination of race and its place in the realm of motherhood was conveyed brilliantly and, in my view, is perhaps the most important aspect of this story.
Like Frida herself, I suspect I’m no different. I don’t know that I’m a bad mother — but I’m definitely trying to be good.
Order your copy of ‘The School For Good Mothers’ here.