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The School for Good Mothers
The School for Good Mothers: A Novel | Jessamine Chan
In this taut and explosive debut novel, one lapse in judgement lands a young mother in a government reform program where custody of her child hangs in the balance. Frida Liu is struggling. She doesnt have a career worthy of her Chinese immigrant parents sacrifices. Whats worse is she cant persuade her husband, Gust, to give up his wellness-obsessed younger mistress. Only with their angelic daughter Harriet does Frida finally feel shes attained the perfection expected of her. Harriet may be all she has, but shes just enough. Until Frida has a horrible day. The state has its eyes on mothers like Fridaones who check their phones while their kids are on the playground; who let their children walk home alone; in other words, mothers who only have one lapse of judgement. Now, a host of government officials will determine if Frida is a candidate for a Big Brother-like institution that measures the success or failure of a mothers devotion. Faced with the possibility of losing Harriet, Frida must prove that she can live up to the standards set for mothersthat she can learn to be good. This propulsive, witty page-turner explores the perils of perfect upper-middle-class parenting, the violence enacted upon women by the state and each other, and the boundless love a mother has for her daughter. The School for Good Mothers is haunting and unforgettable, and I'm in awe of Jessamine Chans mind. Liz Moore, New York Times bestselling author of Long Bright River
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mjtwo
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Pickpick

15-21 Sep 22 (audiobook)
Another from the Obama list.
Frieda has a ‘bad day‘ and finds herself at the school for good mothers - a correctional facility for mothers, guilty of some minor and a few fairly major infractions.
This raises interesting questions: when should the state interfere in parenting issues, do we believe in redemption, how do you balance child protection and parental rights, are there double standards for fathers and mothers?

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MsLeah8417
Mehso-so

Not one of my favorites.

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Julsmarshall
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Pickpick

This was a strange book. A bit slow, confusing and disturbing but compelling and thought provoking too. Quite unlike anything I‘ve ever read.

60 likes1 stack add
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MicheleinPhilly
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MicheleinPhilly ACK!!!! How could I forget @squirrelbrain ??? 😱😱😱 My brain does not start fully functioning until 10 a.m. 2mo
squirrelbrain Ha! Thanks for tagging me…I already have this as a #netgalley ARC…but clearly I‘m *way* overdue to read and review it. 😬 2mo
TrishB Just brought 👍🏻 2mo
BarbaraBB I want to read this one too!! 2mo
Caroline2 Oh thanks for the heads up. 😁 2mo
40 likes5 comments
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Floresj
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Pickpick

The novel begins with Frida leaving her 18 month old unattended for 2.5 hours. Do I approve? Absolutely not. Unfit parent or delirious decision? The rest of the novel explores “bad parents”, their reeducation in a dystopian school, and surveillance. Taking uncomfortable or believable reactions and skewing them just a little bit more, made this novel engrossing.

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cdreincarnate
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Pickpick

This book is ROUGH, but it serves a purpose and it‘s very well written. I felt like I was experiencing everything right along with the main character, and by the end I was almost crying.

Sleepswithbooks I love your mug!! 2mo
cdreincarnate @Sleepswithbooks Thanks! It‘s one of my favorites ❤️ 2mo
7 likes2 comments
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Karisa
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About 50% in. . . This book is such a head trip! Would make a great book club pick.😱

63 likes1 stack add
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reema
Bailedbailed

DNF. Great potential but I wanted to like it more than I did.

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ErraticElle
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Pickpick

A good dystopian focused on governmental intervention in parenting. The premise was interesting & well constructed with moments that made me cringe & others that had my hackles raised. A lot of great social commentary, including a focus on systemic racism. The pacing does drag a bit through the 2nd half & the ending felt a bit rushed, but there was a lot of intriguing writing & well considered content. A great debut & one that will stick with me.

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Jaimelire
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Pickpick

So much to reflect on after reading this book. How our society defines motherhood, how society‘s expectations of parenting differ for men and women, for different cultures and reflecting on the “perfect” mold we are often all expected to squeeze into even when it‘s not a good fit for many mothers.

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candc320
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Pickpick

This story is HEARTBREAKING! It is terrifying to think about how easily this could happen in the US given our current horror show of a country. Every mother at this school made mistakes - some pretty big - but the ridiculous lessons were so repetitive and devoid of emotion it was like they were trying to turn them into uncaring robots instead of give them any skills to actually be good mothers for their children. And the ending 😭. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

candc320 Oh and this was my #bookspin 😆! 3mo
TheAromaofBooks Great progress!! 3mo
30 likes2 stack adds2 comments
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LMJenkins
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Pickpick

I'm going to give this ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️, but not because I loved it. I admire the story this author crafted and it upset me SO MUCH.

Full review: https://laurensreads.blogspot.com

thebluestocking Hey. I put your #lmpbc book in the mail today. 💙 3mo
LMJenkins Thank you @thebluestocking - i‘m on vacation and lost track of things. Just sent @JamieArc an email begging forgiveness for not sending her book on time! 3mo
26 likes2 comments
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Gissy
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Pickpick

I liked the premise of this book. I think Frida would faced legal consequences in our real world and would receive parenting counseling. But this school was extreme, some scenes were absurd but I expect that in dystopian novels. However, I think it was unnecessarily repetitive in some parts. I still think this would be good for a movie or tv serie adaptation. The end...? Well..you need to read it. 3.75⭐️ I‘m a bad mother but learning to be good”

Gissy May #BookSpinBingo book related with mother relations @TheAromaOfBooks
#AsianReadathon (Author has Asian heritage)
#2022ReadingGoals read more books received swaps #Speculativefictionswap Thank you @kdgordon88
5mo
TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!! 5mo
53 likes2 comments
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Chelsea.Poole
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Pickpick

Terrifying how these outrageous dystopian-adjacent works of fiction are becoming more and more like real life. As a mother, this one hit hard. Though it‘s not a perfect book, it is impactful. Readers spend the majority of the novel with our MC in the school for good mothers, as the title implies. It was a bit repetitive, though it serves a purpose— I felt as if I were there going through the program with the mothers. A book for our time.

mcctrish I bought this a while ago and and too many other books jump ahead of it. Then I read some reviews that weren‘t super awesome so it fell behind some more 🤦🏻‍♀️ now the world is a shit show and I‘m afraid to pick it up. I think I will thx to you 5mo
88 likes1 comment
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Kshakal
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Eggs Great choice😟 5mo
30 likes1 comment
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ICantImReading
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Pickpick

⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

I can‘t quite say I enjoyed this anxiety-producing read, but it was thought-provoking. My thoughts kept swirling around how women, especially women of color, are disproportionately impacted by broken systems and societal pressures. Could any person live up to every expectation of what it takes to be a “good mother”? What are the parameters and consequences, and who decides? 🎧

48 likes1 stack add
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Lesliereadsalot
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Mehso-so

This book took about 100 pages to get interesting. It‘s a futuristic story about a woman who loses custody of her daughter and must attend a school for a year whose purpose is to improve parenting skills. Each parent gets a robot doll to practice with and must bond with this doll. I did like the ending.

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Curvybookgirl
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Pickpick

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was very distopian and made me wonder if I myself am I good mum. I think you may appreciate this book more as a parent and in end I probably would have done what the mum did

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BeckyHart
Pickpick

Reminds me a little of Handmaid‘s Tale. Struggled to feel bad for the mother in the beginning, but after all the injustices she and the others endure your opinion may change.

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MaggieCarr
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Bailedbailed

Abandoning at 1/3, starts off nearly relevant and believable (kinda like Handmaid's Tale did) but quickly escalates into the realm of weird where "wayward" parents are to use robotic children and stuff. I can see where it is so very, very different is a reason it's getting such high praise it's just not a good fit for me.

37 likes1 stack add
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Jolynne
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Pickpick

Terrifying to say the least but what an excellent look at what government control is capable of.

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BookLineNSinker
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Pickpick

This book was a tough read. It was very engaging and the premise was very interesting. I think it was really well executed. My only issue with it is that this is every mom's quest nightmare and it's not a happy book. That being says, well done. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

BookBosomed1 I appreciate the review. I‘ve been wondering if it was emotionally heavy. 6mo
18 likes1 comment
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Booksbymybed
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Pickpick

The Handmaid‘s Tale+Never Let Me Go+ every parent‘s worst nightmare = this novel. It was a well written book, along with dystopian flavor it raises very real issues. But it was not a happy read, though it was a quick one. I would not recommend it for new moms, though, I had my insecurities resurfacing, even though mine are teenagers. I chose “pick”, but won‘t reread.

12 likes1 stack add
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BookLineNSinker
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I just picked this one up and I'm excited to drive in. I've gotten just far enough to be outraged on the methods social workers employ to determine whether Frieda is a "good enough" mother.

20 likes2 stack adds
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Bookalong
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Pickpick

Set in a dystopian world, we deep dive into the child welfare system, mothering and the bounds of love. This novel asks us to confront how we parent, which is no easy task and asks us to look at how we treat parents and mothers in today's world. I think Chan has raised many valuable points with this book. I have been that exhausted parent. I dont agree with what Frida does in this book but I do emphasize with her needs. Interesting read for sure!

22 likes2 stack adds
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Erinreadsthebooks
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Pickpick

Wowza! A Handmaids-esque look into the strain and double standards placed on mothers. This book is one of my recent favorites. I knew I‘d like it, but I didn‘t know the emotions it would pull out of me. I‘m angry for Frida and ready to fight the patriarchy. ✊💪. A perfect book for book clubs!! 🤩💯📚🤓

Erinreadsthebooks PS: I hopped on Goodreads to see what people thought of the book and was reminded why Litsy is just better 🤷‍♀️ 6mo
38 likes1 stack add1 comment
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jenniferajanes
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Pickpick

A “very bad day” led to a mother‘s worst nightmare. It was dystopian, but it felt like it could happen here today. I got some definite Stepford and 1984 vibes, and you can throw in some Twilight Zone (spoiler in comments). Disturbing, but one of the best books I‘ve read so far this year. #Libby #audiobook

jenniferajanes Talky Tina, anyone? 😳 6mo
34 likes1 comment
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Erinreadsthebooks
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🗣🗣🗣I am LOVING THIS BOOK!!!

EvieBee It‘s shocking, right?! 6mo
BookLineNSinker I'm totally engrossed by this book right now! 6mo
Erinreadsthebooks @BookLineNSinker 🙌 Can‘t wait to hear what you think when you finish! I thought it was excellent all the way through. 6mo
34 likes3 comments
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rachelm
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Pickpick

I was lucky enough to interview the New York Times bestselling author of this novel and loooooved our conversation. Especially if you‘re a writer (or interested in her process), check it out: https://splitlipthemag.com/interviews/0322/interview-with-jessamine-chan

DivineDiana How exciting for you! 👏🏻📚👏🏻 6mo
rachelm @DivineDiana it was a cool experience! 6mo
AmyG Wow 6mo
Megabooks Awesome! 6mo
58 likes1 stack add4 comments
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Erinreadsthebooks
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It‘s a three dog night for me, and I‘d have it no other way. Following up Bright Burning Things with this look into the pressures of motherhood. I didn‘t mean to turn this into a book flight, but the library hold came in and I must read this most anticipated gem 💎 Sixty pages in, and I‘m loving it!

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ReadingEnvy
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Pickpick

Frida has a bad day, and leaves her infant at home alone. Her neighbor turns her in and she ends up sent to a rehabilitation school for bad mothers. This is dystopia but doesn't feel very far off, and I actually found it hard to read, but in your usual dystopian way.

Alfoster Yes! It‘s creepy good!😱 7mo
61 likes1 stack add1 comment
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MelKelsey
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Pickpick

Book 28

A dystopian world in which parents whose children are removed from them by the state must attend a school for one year in which they learn to be good parents by raising robot doll children. A unique, interesting story. Well-done.

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MallenNC
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Pickpick

This was hard to read! I read it for the social horror prompt for the PopSugar reading challenge, and I wouldn‘t have otherwise. It was creepy and sad, but I kept turning the pages!

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Addison_Reads
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Pickpick

I was supposed to wait and read this in March, but I started it and couldn't stop.

Although this is listed as dystopian, it's scary how real it feels. Chan delivers a heartbreaking tale of how one mistake changes a mother's life, and that of her daughter's, forever. Frida's love for her daughter broke me, and all of the hardships she and the other mothers had to go through angered me.

⬇⬇⬇⬇⬇ more below⬇⬇⬇⬇⬇

Addison_Reads Showing the contrast to how fathers were treated for similar mistakes was a great addition to this story, making it even more complex in its social commentary in how mothers and fathers are viewed differently in their roles with their children. Excellent story that as the cover says is "unforgettable." 7mo
43 likes1 comment
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HettyG
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Such an interesting book so far…. I know it is a “dystopian” novel, but it‘s not so dystopian as to be unrecognizable, like it‘s just a click or two up the authoritarian scale from where we are now, causing a creeping sense of dread in me that I can scarcely define. My kids are grown now, but I recall the terror of the big mistakes I made, the pressure and the exhaustion feel so real in the novel that it makes the dystopian parts feel so close.

merelybookish Agreed. I spent the first bit unsure if it was dystopian or not. 7mo
5 likes1 comment
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sprainedbrain
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Pickpick

I burned through this fabulous audiobook in a day. It‘s dystopian, but in the way of The Handmaid‘s Tale or 1984, it seems just plausible enough to be truly terrifying. A very well written, heartbreaking debut that had me screaming and crying. I felt so much for Frida and the other mothers at the ‘school.‘ 😩

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

vivastory Between yours & @merelybookish reviews, I will definitely be reading this one! 7mo
96 likes5 stack adds1 comment
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HettyG
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My weekend audio book, I‘m really looking forward to reading for myself this book everyone seems to be talking about!

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merelybookish
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Pickpick

Had I realized this was dystopian, I never would have started it. But I got sucked in and there was no turning back. (But it did stress me out. ?) Having "a very bad day," frazzled single mother Frida leaves her toddler home alone for a few hours.She is charged with abandonment& neglect and sent to a year at a reformatory school for parents. She must pass to have any hope of regaining custody. Chan does a good job of taking current parenting?

merelybookish discourses to their extremist ends. Parents are solely responsible for everything in their children's lives and a good parent must be utterly selfless, devoid of any other impulse or need beyond their child's care. An impossible standard that punishes everyone. This is not a feel-good story but Chan follows Frida's story to its logical end. It is satisfying if not uplifting. 7mo
merelybookish This recent story about a mother in OK who was charged in her son's murder under a "failure to protect" law is exactly the kind of stuff Chan is describing Except it's not fiction. ?https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-60356725 7mo
vivastory I was unaware of that case. I just read that article & it is completely horrifying. Dystopian is becoming more & more like non-fiction everyday... 7mo
See All 9 Comments
merelybookish @vivastory Isn't that story insane? I think part of the reason I avoid dystopian novels is because they are so similar to our lived experience. 7mo
MeganAnn Oh my. I was also unaware of that case and it‘s just horrible. That poor woman! Our justice system is so broken. 7mo
merelybookish @MeganAnn Absolutely. It is the epitome of victim blaming. 7mo
Liz_M The description reminds me of this non-dystopian novel around the same topic (written in the 80s,): (edited) 7mo
merelybookish @Liz_M Thanks for the recommendation! Was that made into a movie? 7mo
Liz_M @merelybookish I've heard the movie is terrible. But Sue Miller is really good at writing about family dynamics. 7mo
72 likes1 stack add9 comments
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rachelsbrittain
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Pickpick

I barely made it through the first 25% of this book which dragged on with painfully real dystopian setup about a mother being separated from her child by CPS. So glad I didn't DNF though because once I got past that, the interesting stuff began. A penitentiary program for "bad" mothers using artificial children for training, impossible tests, and unequal, gendered expectations set the mothers up for failure. Horror in the truest sense. TWs below.

rachelsbrittain Trigger warnings for suicidal ideation, suicide, abuse, child abuse, children separated from parents, and legal system injustice. 8mo
57 likes1 stack add1 comment
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rachelsbrittain
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01. The School for Good Mothers, The Bone Spindle, and Tender

02. The Red Palace by June Hur

03. My holds just came in on The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman and Light Years from Home by Mike Chen

#WeekendReads

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rachelsbrittain
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Love seeing my current reads alongside my fellow bibliogolists!

Soubhiville Wait, how do you see this? I can‘t seem to find that on my account on my phone. That‘s really cool! 8mo
Soubhiville Are you a bibliologist? That sounds so fun! 8mo
rachelsbrittain @Soubhiville it's on Bookriot's TBR Instagram account! And yes, I am! I really love it. It's like a puzzle trying to find the perfect book recs for people 😊 8mo
53 likes3 comments
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Reggie
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It‘s been nice belonging to a library again. Last time I was around there were no ebooks, so notifications like this are a delight.

Michael_Gee Looooove your phone background, Reggie. 8mo
KathyWheeler I agree with @Michael_Gee — that background is amazing! 8mo
LeahBergen Yes, that background is fab! 8mo
See All 7 Comments
Reggie @Michael_Gee @KathyWheeler @LeahBergen Thanks, I‘m into the tentacled monster lately. Lol 🐙 🦑 8mo
Centique Go the kraken!! 🐙🐙🐙 Please tell me you‘ve watched the documentary My Octopus Teacher? That got me through our first lockdown. Love an octopus 😍😍 8mo
Reggie @Centique I had no idea such a thing existed. I will watch it. What an enchanting title. 8mo
DivineDiana Yes, My Octopus Teacher is incredible! ❤️ 🐙❤️ 8mo
79 likes7 comments
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Jilly6183
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Pickpick

Society puts so much pressure on parents, but especially mothers. This heartbreaking story plays that pressure out to a dystopian conclusion. This one will stick with me for a long time.

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cjk
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🎧 Tagged and Confessions on the 7:45 by Lisa Unger.
📚 Once More Upon a Time by Roshani Chokshi.

#weekendreading
@Andrew65

cjk @LoverOfLearning It‘s been on my tbr list for awhile now- how is it? 8mo
LoverOfLearning @cjk it should be more shocking and emotional to me, but my daily job involves working with trauma survivors. So it's an easy read for me. But definitely trigger warnings. But overall a very interested read! I'll likely rate it 4 stars 8mo
Andrew65 Hope you‘ve had a good weekend. 8mo
27 likes4 comments
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Hooked_on_books
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Pickpick

Frida has a day of being overwhelmed by single parenthood and ends up plunged into a draconian process to try to prove she can be a good mother and deserves her child. This is a fabulous debut, with the dystopian element so mild (and an accurate reflection of our society) it feels real. I couldn‘t put it down.

BarbaraBB This is the first I hear of it but I already want to stack! 8mo
Deblovestoread I‘ve been waiting to see a review before jumping in. Stacked! 8mo
squirrelbrain Sounds great-stacked! 8mo
bnp This is on my to read pile. Glad you enjoyed it. 8mo
61 likes3 stack adds4 comments
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Tonton
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Nute Checking this out! Thanks for sharing, Toni.🙂 6mo
Tonton @Nute Thanks😎 6mo
30 likes2 comments
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Christine
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Pickpick

A chilling read! The school part was kind of standard dystopian fare but well done, and it made me ponder the awfulness of teaching parenting skills (or anything!) from a place of judgment instead of from a place of support. For me, the true horror came from the narrative outside the school, where mothering and womanhood were subjected to a super creepy Panopticon of surveillance in service of one definition of perfection. Feels too possible!

EKonrad Just finished this one and loved it! 9mo
sprainedbrain This sounds cool! 9mo
Christine @EKonrad Yay! It‘s a memorable one. I loved Frida. 9mo
Christine @sprainedbrain Yes! I really liked the writing, too. 9mo
60 likes2 stack adds4 comments
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Rhondareads
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A n emotional moving read from the first pages.A mother to a toddler newly divorced alone with her eighteen month makes a terrible mistake leaves her child alone for two hours.The police are called her life unravels a story women mothers will relate to.A-five star read for me highly recommend.

22 likes2 stack adds
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Sophronisba
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The Millions' book preview for the first half of 2022 is here!

https://themillions.com/2022/01/most-anticipated-the-great-first-half-2022-book-...

BkClubCare Wow, book covers are getting SO colorful. Maybe I am just getting around to noticing? I am not complaining. 9mo
Sophronisba Sadly, I see most of mine in black-and-white on my Kindle so I don't get the full effect. 9mo
6 likes2 comments
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EKonrad
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Pickpick

Still stunned by how good this one was! It actually made me cry several times - a true sign of a good writer in my opinion. Such an interesting commentary on the pressure to be a perfect mother. Can‘t wait for people to read this one! #arc ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Full review at ErinKonrad.com