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Mother, Mother

3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  3,204 ratings  ·  579 reviews
Josephine Hurst has her family under control. With two beautiful daughters, a brilliantly intelligent son, a tech-guru of a husband and a historical landmark home, her life is picture perfect. She has everything she wants; all she has to do is keep it that way. But living in this matriarch’s determinedly cheerful, yet subtly controlling domain hasn’t been easy for her fami ...more
Hardcover, 366 pages
Published September 17th 2013 by Crown (first published January 1st 2013)
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Community Reviews

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Wendy Darling
2.5 stars Successful psychological thrillers usually rely on a couple of key things: interesting characters and the element of surprise. These characters aren't particularly nuanced, and are slotted into roles as if they're in a play, and I find it disappointing that the mother and Will in particular are so uninteresting and so very predictable.

The twists are also fairly easy to guess (are they not meant to be?), if not the exact circumstances of them, then certainly the possibility that they w
Patrice Hoffman
Talk about a family with major issues and secrets. Mother, Mother by Koren Zailckas is the exploration of a family who's matriarch is possibly one of the most vile, nutcases I have read in a long time. Mother, Mother is brilliantly twisted, engrossing, and makes those of us with "normal" parents thank our lucky stars.

It is evident from page one when William Hurst wakes to find his mother smiling down at him that maybe Josephine Hurst is a few cans short of a six pack. It could be that her husban
I’d like to nominate Douglas and Josephine Hurst for parents of the year. He’s an absentee father who’s doing a real fine job of drinking himself to death, while she’s a narcissistic mother who’d like to split ends with her family and the entire populace at large. If ever there was a case for the Emancipation Proclamation, the Hurst parents are the spitting image of what honest Abe had in mind, because I’d like to emancipate myself from this particular situation, and I only had to deal with them ...more
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

I was so sure this would end up a 4 Star book.

“If only people closed their eyes when Josephine spoke, maybe then they’d hear it: cat-woman crazy, fueled by sadism and bottomless need.”

Ohhhhhhhh, Josie the Soci (as in sociopath) was easily the character I most loved to hate so far this year. Ruling her family with an iron fist – or maybe more like a mental Münchausen syndrome by proxy – she has led to her husband to seek asylum in
I am a hopeless thrall for bad mommy books, and Mother, Mother does not disappoint. Josephine is the mama, a full-blown narcissist who plays nasty little mind games to manipulate her brood, with varying degrees of success. She specializes in keeping her family off-balance and questioning themselves, always fearing her reactions.

Each of her three children attempts to survive in his or her own way. Rose has just turned 18 and has finally made her escape from the home, pretty much disappearing fro
After reading another book about secrets last week, I was just talking about how most of us put on a public persona so we are more likable to others, keeping our true thoughts to ourselves. In Mother, Mother, that’s putting it mildly. In fact, Mother, aka Josephine Hurst, is so despicable, she makes Joan Crawford look like Mother of the Year. She insists that the outside world think her family is picture perfect, that they’re living storybook lives, and no family member must ever besmirch that i ...more
Random House of Canada
I started this book and immediately thought of Gone Girl. The narration switches back and forth between a teenage sister and her younger brother and I had no idea who to trust. As things become clearer and clearer, I could feel my shoulders tightening up and moving up around my ears.

This is a tense, fast-paced read.

I won this book via the goodreads giveaway in an exchange for an honest review.
This was a good page turner. A quick read. I love psychological thrillers, however this one didn't blow me out of the water.

The plot had potential to be very frightening. A family is torn apart by their abusive mother. The ways in which she controls her victims is terrifying. At times it felt excessive and unrealistic.
Josephine, the mother, was a narcissist and a psychopath. Douglas, the father, was a selfish alcoh
Jacob Seifert
I was very excited for this book, especially after reading the interview with Zailckas on Shelf Awareness, but this novel commits the sin of telling too much and showing too little. Most of the family drama is revealed through summary rather than allowing the reader to witness it and then reflect on the nuances. I also found the writing to be imprecise and lackluster, and the dialogue was often melodramatic or boring. The results: little natural tension and no desire to continue reading. I am ve ...more
Liz Wilkins
All is not well with the Hurst family.

No indeed tell me about it! All is certainly NOT well with the Hurst family. But what, I wonder, could be at the heart of that disease? Well thats what Koren Zailckas looks at here – a family dynamic – and something at its core that is eating away at the whole.

Told from two points of view – that of the two younger children, Violet and Will, their elder sister Rose having escaped by running away a year or so before, a picture begins to emerge of a rather stra
Mother, Mother I've been reading psychological thrillers like they are going out of print recently. I think it's to do with the fact that I wasn't reading as much as I normally did for a long period, and a good psychological thriller has the ability to really grab me and keep me reading no matter what. Told in the alternating POVs of the middle Hurst child, Violet, and the youngest, Will, Mother, Mother is an intimate, frightening look at how a family can go so very wrong on the inside, whilst m ...more
Mother, Mother is a real page-turner. I could have plowed through it in about a day if I’d had the time. It’s fast-paced, the writing is simple, and the subject matter is of the I’m-feeling-really-uncomfortable-but-can’t-stop-reading kind.

I think Zailckas has a lot of potential and I certainly stayed interested enough to want to finish the book. I’m a very close, picky reader, though, and there were lots of things about Mother, Mother that I think could have been done better. With that said, Mot
Diane S.
3.5 Narcissism is a disorder that I have just recently learned about, but it is certainly a horrible thing for the people who are in the path of a narcissist. This novel does a good job at describing the horrible psychological effects of the narcissist mother. Cannot help but feel for all the children involved. The husband, though he tried to redeem himself later in the book, was just bent on ignoring everything and drinking his way through life, instead of making the attempt to protect his chil ...more

Mother, Mother is a psychological thriller that unfolds in alternating viewpoints and does a fabulous job of drawing the reader in from page one. Violet sees Josephine her mother for who and what she really is: a flawed individual who could really benefit from some professional therapy, While, Will chooses to see his mother as smart, cultured, kind and loving. Will subconsciously knows the truth about his mother, but chooses (or is forced) to see her through “rose-colored glasses.” Speaking of r
Heather Fineisen
Different and uncomfortable. You will read this knowing there is something not quite right, but you can't turn away. Oh, and that perfect mother next door? About her......

provided by publisher
Stephanie (Stepping out of the Page)
Mother, Mother is a story unlike any other that I've read before it. When I first read the blurb of the book, I thought it sounded fantastic - like something I would find fascinating, and it was, but it was actually so much more. This book messed with my mind, it made me unsure of who to believe, what to believe and as soon as I thought I had a stable idea of a character, I could turn the page and the author could shatter the illusion. Strangely enough, this is why it exceeded my expectations!

Aug 20, 2013 Natasha rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: arc
Sometimes it is so difficult to give a star rating for a book. Did I enjoy this book? Yes. Would I recommend it to others? Most likely. There were just little nagging things that prevent me from rating it any higher.

The subject matter is tough to stomach yet makes for a great read at the same time. I enjoyed the fact that it's not just a story about a psychotic mother, but also how her behavior affects everyone around her and how it shaped the children she raised in different ways. The mystery s
Jan 30, 2014 Gail rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: kindle
I was looking forward to reading this after receiving the free ebook sampler.

It is a slow burner of a psychological thriller in that we know there is something horribly wrong within this seemingly 'perfect family on the outside' but we don't actually know what or who is telling the truth.

The book is written from the perspective of two of the Hurst children, 16 year old Violet and her 12 year old brother, Will. Their older sister, Rose, ran away from the family home some 18 months previously afte
The teenage daughter in this book references Valley of the Dolls like it's a bad thing, but as thick as the melodrama is here, I can't say that I wouldn't have rather read that book instead.
15 year old Violet has been admitted to the local mental hospital. Why? Because her mother Josephine, has accused her of attacking her 10 year old brother Will with a knife. Rebellious Violet has no recollection of the attack but does remember an attempt to get high on morning glory seeds. Will is mildly autistic, suffers from Aspergers Syndrome and epilepsy and is home-schooled by Josephine in what seems a very unhealthy relationship. The oldest sister, Rose, has not been seen since she escaped ...more
I really enjoyed this book! It is a creepy tale, told from the alternating view of the brother and sister. It is about a family who has so many things wrong with it...most of it stemming from their narcissistic, evil minded mother. The book has a psychological thriller to it that keeps you guessing as to what happened to their sister Rose. Did she run away? Or did their mother have something to do with her disappearance?

I enjoyed the characters as well as the plot in this book. Definitely a goo
Koren Zailckas has written a book that is sometimes difficult to read, but it's fascinating from beginning to end. The reason it can be difficult to read is because of how horrific the Mother of this title is. She can be described as manipulative, deceitful, malicious... even evil, but those words still do not capture the irreparable harm she causes to those she professes to love most. She has stolen her children's lives from them by causing each of the three of them unimaginable stress, self-do ...more
Mother, Mother
Koren Zailckas

My "in a nutshell" summary...

Josephine loves her three children...Rose, Violet, and Will...or does she?

My thoughts after reading this book...

Most of this story takes place in a small town...a suburb...not far from NYC. The Hursts are seemingly a normal family. However, their oldest daughter Rose has run away, middle daughter Violet is in a psych ward after an attack on her younger brother, and that brother, Will, is a pet of his mother. He has diagnoses of Asburger'
There's something comforting about knowing from the very first page of a novel that you're dealing with a straight up psychopath. There's no beating around the bush, no wondering if so and so is really insane in the membrane or just misunderstood. The mother in "Mother, Mother" one Josephine Hurst is straight up, "Mommy Dearest", Dexter levels of bonkers and Koren Zailckas has no interest in hiding it. I like that.

Josephine is also, unfortunately, a wife and mother of three and every member of h
*Received in exchange for an honest review*
*Thank you, Harper Collins*

Wow, wow, wow. This book was so, so good and absolutely chilling. Mother, Mother explores the issues underlying the Hurst family, with some incredibly disturbing secrets. I have to admit I had a hunch about what had happened but I wasn't expecting the way the revelation was shared. It was such a dark, disturbing psychological read and is probably one of my favourite thrillers that I've ever read. It's difficult to write a revi
Vicky (Books, Biscuits, and Tea)
Mother, Mother is typically one of those books which left such a great impression on me that I have no idea where to even begin. I’ve always been a big fan of psychological thrillers and suspense – both in terms of films and books – so even though I went into this book not knowing what to expect, I was secretly hoping it would render me speechless. And render me speechless it did. I finished reading it in late December and, without exaggeration, it’s been on my mind ever since.

There’s something
Wow! What a dark, twisty novel! The mother in this novel is a conniving sociopath who constantly amazed/frustrated me with her actions. Reading about the family dynamics in this particular family was truly compelling, shocking and intense! This is a very readable book with a great story and interesting characters. This novel is definitely dark - psychologically dark. There isn't a lot of physically violent description or goriness but there is quite a bit of psychological mindplaying throughout t ...more
MOTHER, MOTHER doesn't give you all the answers at the end, but it totally works.

It's a slow build from the beginning to the climax, but it's all necessary and definitely worth it. By the time I reached that point, I whipped through the pages, having become far more invested than I thought at first. Violet and Will are both equally likable (and hatable). I found myself sympathizing with Will more because of the enormous influence his mother had on him. I rooted for Violet the whole time, knowing
Brittany M.
*Jon Lovitz voice* it STINKS!
” They f___ you up your Mum and Dad, They may not mean to but they do. “ Harsh words from Philip Larkin but he has a point…except here it’s Mommie Dearest who is most at fault in the shape of Josephine Hurst, narcissistic mother of 3 vulnerable children with a rather needy husband too.

It might seem quite trite to state that a book was “unputdownable” but in this case I was so engrossed that everything else had to be put on hold. I just had to keep on reading – this was car crash tv, the subject
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