Five things about… The School for Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan

If you are a mother, this book is probably going to emotionally crush you. I don’t cry often while readying, but this one got me. I’m not saying it’s written perfectly, see below for plenty of criticism, but Chan got me.

The book is incredibly readable and really hard to put down- I was compelled to see if Frida would pass her units at mothering school and would eventually be reunited with her toddler. I was definitely invested in their reunification. That being said, I think the book was a bout fifty pages too long- there were a few points that felt unnecessary, certain events simply replicated in different ways. 
The book does raise really interesting questions about CPS and the role government plays in protecting,  or in some cases not protecting, children. There were a lot of details that were glossed over, though, and some vagueness that felt unrealistic and almost lazy at times. 
Akin to Klara and the Sun (although nowhere near Ishiguru’s level), the relationship potential between AI and humans is explored. While at the school, Frida must practice parenting on a pretend child who is eerily similar to a real one. Will we ever get to a point of attachment with an inanimate object that feels real? Unfortunately, this was another area that l didn’t think was as well-done as it could be, corners cut when explaining some of the technicalities of the robotic children. In Chan’s defense, this isn’t a sci-fi novel and didn’t really matter in the scheme of things, but I HAD QUESTIONS. 
Besides sadness and suspense, another emotion that I frequently felt was frustration with the main character. On what planet could she possibly leave her baby alone? Why didn’t she better communicate with others? Why did she let her ex-husband’s girlfriend have so much control? Why didn’t she ask her parents for more help? Why didn’t she get a better lawyer? Why was this school possibly allowed to exist? Why did the ending happen as it did? The list continues… 

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