Thursday, 2 October 2014

The Mothers by Jennifer Gilmore

November 2009

We were headed for the Verrazano Bridge, caught in traffic.

Great another opening that's stuck in traffic. So while we wait, and the characters wait in the car, why not take this opportunity for some superfluous information, on weather and seasons and some back story?

It was several weeks before thanksgiving, which I remember because there was a massive billboard hanging from a crumbling brick building off a highway in Sunset Park.

Here the narrator is ensuring the reader that he/she/whoever is not going to be one of those pesky unreliable narrators, as he/she/whoever goes out of her way to prove that it is a certain amount of ambiguous time before the holiday. The next paragraph talks about the weather: ...heat and gas from cars rose in waves.

First thing said:


The story problem on the opening pages is that someone is not getting pregnant. So with a title like The Mothers, this is certainly a problem.

On the plus side, the tone and mood is established right away, with some characters being revealed and the writing is light and easy. Still, I don't see a hook in the first couple of pages, besides the barren, infertile, unfruitful womb and/or impotence element. For some this might make for gripping reading and pull them in, but for me? Nah. Once I'm old, fat, bald and impotent I may come back to this opening with a new-found understanding and appreciation, but until then - next book on the shelf.

Verdict: Fail

Rudy Globird

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