Review: The Other Mother

Guest Review by Lisa

Gwendolen Gross, author to The Other Mother, is the author of two other novels Field Guide and Getting Out, and received an M.F.A. in fiction and poetry from Sarah Lawrence College. She lives in northern New Jersey with her family.

Amanda, a working mother from "the" city, and her husband move into the suburbs during her eighth month of pregnancy and finds herself living next door to Thea, a stay-at-home who lives in the same house she grew up in. Shortly after, a tree falls on Amanda's house and Thea invites Amanda's family to stay with her family. When Amanda returns to work, her inability to find a nanny or suitable daycare, leads to Thea becoming baby Malena's babysitter. But resentments, misunderstandings, and personalities that just don't mesh lead the women to part ways and things become tense.

I didn't really connect with either woman (the chapters alternate between first person narrations by each mother) and frankly, found some of their behaviors not believable. I also found the ending awkward. I did enjoy the examination of the battle between stay-at-home moms and moms that work outside the home (both women here feel the tug of both sides which should have made them get along better but neither was willing to admit to envying the other).

Author News:
Gwendolen Gross discussed her new book the East Brunswick Public Library on May 6, 2008 at 8pm. Check out the details on the Motherhood News Blog.

The Other Mother was selected as a best Jersey book of 2007 by Jersey Writers, a best book of the year by the RoleMommy blog.

Type: Fiction, 320 pages, Hardcover

“[The Other Mother] paints an electrifyingly complex and explosively gripping portrait of contemporary, have-it-all motherhood.” — Booklist

“[The Other Mother] is a thoughtful, multi-faceted look at what divides and unites mothers.” — National Public Radio

BN.COM Peer Review: I absolutely was drawn in by this haunting story and could not put it down! The characters are wonderful and real. Don't miss it even if you are not a mom yourself.