This is a story, in no uncertain terms, about the pressure on women to be perfect mothers, to love a child unconditionally whilst hostage to feelings of anxiety, guilt, and self-doubt. Set in an unnamed city, Blythe Connor delivers her version of events with a breathy urgency; concise chapters make for a tense, pacey read. A psychological drama which will strike a chord with many women, regardless of whether they are mothers themselves.
I was miserable. She and I both were, it seemed. She was gravely unhappy when she was around only me. She wouldn't let me hold her anymore. She didn't want me near her. Most days she was irritable and troublesome when we were alone and nothing could soothe her. She screamed so loudly when I picked her up that I could imagine the neighbors next door stopping dead in their tracks. When we were in public, at the grocery store or the park, other mothers would sometimes ask in a sympathetic voice if there was anything they could do to help. I was humiliated - they pitied me either for having given birth to a child like Violet or for being the kind of mother who looked too weak to survive her.