The Real Mother
William Morrow, 2005 (2005)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
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Reviewed by Melissa Parcel
wenty-seven-year-old Sara Elliot leaves medical school when her mother suffers a debilitating stroke and is transfered to a nursing home. Sara assumes care of her half-siblings - Abby (15), Carrie (13), and Doug (10), and takes a job with the Chicago mayor's office to support them. Their nineteen-year-old,
brother Mack left years before, and the family still feels the effects of his abandonment. Sara tries to keep things together, but finds herself lonely and does not feel she's the
the kids need.
hrough her job, Sara meets businessman Ruben Lister and the two form a quick bond and relationship. Ruben has some skeletons in his closet - can his past be resolved to allow a relationship with Sara? And when Mack returns with a huge chip on his shoulder and grandiose promises for his younger siblings, will Sara be able to cope with one more complication? Though this is a fair family story, many things are unexplained and others are unbelievable. One example is the location of the kids' father. It's alluded to that he
, but no one seems to be interested in him or his whereabouts, even when their mother is incapacitated and the children need a guardian. And it's never explained why Mack left in the first place, if his personality is changed upon his return, or if he was always a sociopath.
he interesting question explored by the novel is - what is a family? What makes a
parent? Through all of their struggles and problems, Sara and her siblings do come to discover the answers to these questions, but I found the story incredibly long and drawn out, without much substance or purpose. The dialogue is stilted and none of the characters act in a believable manner. The story would have been more interesting with some mystery and a few explanations. All in all, I found
The Real Mother
lacking in depth.
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