Meet the Hurst Family.
Meet Violet Hurst -16 years old, beautiful and brilliant. So why is she being accused of being a danger to herself and others?
Meet her brother Will Hurst – the smartest and sweetest twelve-year old boy around.
But does he really need all that medication he is being told to take?
Meet oldest sister Rose – the one who got away. She disappeared one night in her final year of school, never to be heard from again.
And then meet their mother – Josephine. Perhaps it will then all start to make sense…
Mother, Mother was published by Harper Collins on 16 January 2014 and is Koren Zailckas first novel.
Set in New York state, the story is told in alternate chapters by Will and his sister Violet who are both damaged in their own way by their mother Josephine. Josephine is a monster mother - of that there is no doubt, it is clear from the very start of the story that it is her actions and behaviours that control this completely dysfunctional family.
There is another child; Rose. Rose left home a few years ago and both Will and Violet spend a lot of time wondering why, and as more time passes, and they think longer, slowly they begin to comprehend how their mother has directed their lives.
Will is autistic, and has epilepsy - he takes pills. Violet takes pills too - hers are a form of escape. It is clear that the people who really need medication in this story are Josephine and their father - a couple who are so lacking in parenting skills, who are so wrapped up in their own worlds, that it is a crime that they were ever allowed to procreate.
The story battles on until the end, when the truth of Josephine's depravity is exposed, and the mopping-up of results of her actions has to begin.
I do enjoy a psychologically flawed lead character and Josephine is certainly that. However, the author has made it clear from the beginning of the story just what Josephine is and what she is capable of, therefore, for me, this story didn't quite have the surprise or shock factor that I would have liked.
Mother, Mother is very readable, it moves along at a quick pace. I wasn't so keen on the characterisation, or their development and some of their actions and narrative felt a little wooden and flat at times. It's an interesting look at a difficult subject, but for me, it didn't quite hit the mark.
KOREN ZAILCKAS is an internationally bestselling writer, and has contributed to The Guardian, U.S. , and magazine. She currently lives with her family in the Catskill mountains of New York. More information can be found at www.korenzailckas.com