The Good Mother Myth and Allegiant

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Two reviews for the price of one today. I couldn't have picked two more different books to review together -- but they are the two I most recently finished.

The Good Mother Myth is a compilation of essays from women who do not fit the stereotype of "the good mother" that populates the internet. I think "the good mother" is probably a slightly different specter for everyone, but for me she takes the form of an Anthropologie-garbed woman who definitely had lost her baby weight in the first year, who had an unmedicated vaginal birth, who exclusively breastfed and never let her baby's lips touch a drop of formula, who feeds her child vegetables with every meal and snack, who keeps a beautiful home, who stays at home, who is already pregnant with number 2, who creates beautiful handmade crafts and gives them to friends -- heck, who actually manages to wrap gifts (I am notoriously awful at this and tend to just hand people things). Anyway, as you can see, the good mother myth is dangerous and permeates motherhood, at least for self-esteem challenged people like myself. I loved reading these essays from women who express their own experience, because when I am being honest with myself, I realize that there is not a single woman who believes she is fulfilling her own good mother myth. Not to say there are women who don't think they are good mothers, but I've never heard anyone say, "I'm perfectly satisfied with myself as a mother." We all fall short in our own ways.

This is deviating from a book review into a passionate rambling on this book, so let me wrap things up by saying that while some of the essays were way outside my experience and a few were even shocking to me, it was interesting to read so many different perspectives. It was good to know "the good mother" haunts others as well as myself and that despite what it sometimes looks like when I show up to church and see everyone dressed to the nines or walk inside someone's spotless house where their well-behaved child takes her three-hour nap, we all have struggles and merits.

3.5 stars

Warnings: Language, some thematic material

Doesn't it feel great to finish a series? I started the Divergent trilogy shortly after the first book was released and I love getting to the end of something. Many readers found Allegiant to be a disappointing ending, but I found it to be perfect -- to perfectly tie up the character development that has been happening all along. And so many books give in to a cop-out type of resolution -- everything builds up to a mountain of tension and no hope of a solution -- and then a loophole conveniently presents itself and everyone is fine. Allegiant didn't shy away from the tension, and it didn't give easy answers. 

I'm getting ahead of myself. In Allegiant, the once faction-divided city has been taken over by the Factionless leader, who wants to block the important information revealed by Tris at the end of Insurgent. Thus, Tris and a group of others known as the Allegiant decide to leave the city to find what is beyond their walls. What they find was just as unexpected to me as it was to them, creating a whole new opportunity for world-building within the series. I loved the new setting discovered in Allegiant as well as the tests the characters went through that developed them into whole, complicated people.

In short, a phenomenal ending to a great series.

4 stars

Warnings: Violence


  1. I love that you loved Allegiant. All the rest of my friends/other people I've talked to about it, hated it in so many ways. (It was boring, this or that was lame, why did these people have to die?, etc, etc). After my initial "I hate this!" and after going through the whole grieving process (I loved Tris, and I loved her and Tobias so much!) I agree that it was perfect. I'm glad I have one person that feels the same! :)

  2. Yes, very different books indeed. I don't know if I'll ever finish the Divergent series. I'm happy to hear it doesn't end all roses, though. You've intrigued me with the mother book. It makes me wonder what shocked you.


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