The School for Good Mothers: A Novel, By Jessamine Chan

The School for Good Mothers: A Novel, By Jessamine Chan | Book

Jessamine Chan's The School for Good Mothers: A Novel

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One mistake in judgement puts a young mother in a government reform programe where custody of her kid hangs in the balance in this tense and incendiary debut book.

Frida Liu is having a hard time. She lacks a job that is commensurate with her Chinese immigrant parents' struggles. Gust, her husband, refuses to let go of his wellness-obsessed younger mistress. Frida ultimately achieves the perfection expected of her with Harriet, their cherubic daughter. Harriet may be her only possession, yet she is sufficient.

Unless Frida has a very horrible day.

The government is keeping an eye on mothers like Frida. Those who check their phones while their children are on the playground, allowing them to be wounded; those who allow their children to go home alone. A slew of government bureaucrats will now decide if Frida is a candidate for a Big Brother-style institution that assesses the success or failure of a mother's dedication as a result of one lapse in judgement.

Faced with the prospect of losing Harriet, Frida must demonstrate that even a horrible mother can be saved. That she would be able to learn to be good.

The School for Good Mothers introduces Frida, an everywoman for the ages, in a page-turning novel that is also a transgressive novel of ideas about the perils of "perfect" upper-middle-class parenting; the violence enacted upon women by both the state and, at times, one another; the systems that separate families; and the boundlessness of love. Chan has crafted a modern literary masterpiece, using dark wit to examine the aches and delights of the innermost bonds that unite us.

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