Yvette Erskine's Reviews > The Mothers' Group

The Mothers' Group by Fiona Higgins
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's review
Apr 25, 2012

it was amazing

You know you’re onto a good thing when you finish a novel and without pausing, flip back to the beginning to start all over again. Such was the case with Fiona Higgins’ The Mothers’ Group.
Through her protagonists Ginie, Made, Suzie, Miranda, Pippa and Cara, Higgins explores questions of friendship, support, marriage, the pressures of parenting in the twenty first century and the meaning of unconditional love – as well as what it means if that love doesn’t come easily or naturally.
The unlikely group forms courtesy of the fact that they live in the same area and gave birth at roughly the same time. Aside from this, the women, due to their differences, may never have given each other a second glance.
The story unfolds through the eyes of the women themselves – one chapter per woman. I’m a big fan of storytelling in this manner – to me it is perhaps the most intimate way of introducing your characters to the reader. Higgins has crafted the novel beautifully. We come to know (but not always to love) each woman. Each tells her own story, and subsequently constructs the next piece in the jigsaw that is the main storyline. Through this, we come to know them warts and all, including their impressions of the other women in the group.
Whilst at first glance the book may seem to be about that first challenging year of motherhood, there’s so much more to it. It’s about the women themselves. As well as setting out on the journey to motherhood, each character has her own set of issues playing out in the background such as challenging in-laws, feeling lost in the modern world, difficult stepchildren, cultural issues, old loves and infidelity – things that most of us would be able to relate to in one respect or another.
And the twist. A twist so out of left field, but so frighteningly possible for any parent, that it left me unable to put the book down – even when it was well past my bedtime.
Being pregnant at the moment myself, I found The Mothers’ Group so refreshingly raw in terms of its honesty. At times, it was downright confronting. The characters are all well drawn – to such an extent that I found myself immediately disliking one whose idea of parenting clashes so gratingly with my own. It hauled me firmly into the so-called mummy wars – a fate I had thus far been determined to avoid. But then, isn’t that a sign of a good writer – if she can make you so utterly judgemental that you detest a character that much?
Overall, Higgins has woven an engrossing tale and one that I would highly recommend not only to mothers, but to anyone who’s interested in friendships, relationships and the deeper, fundamental questions that keep us up at night e.g. who am I, why am I on the journey I inadvertently find myself on and what makes me tick? So yes. Pretty much everyone.
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Comments (showing 1-2)

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Denise Thanks for excellent review, Yvette! This book keeps cropping up and I think I'll have to read it, especially since I've recently become a grandmother and live on Sydney's northern beaches (where the novel is set). Good luck with your pregnancy!

Shelleyrae at Book'd Out I think reading this while pregnant could be a bit uncomfortable, especially if its your first LOL. I loved it though. A great review!

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