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Mother's Milk (Patrick Melrose, #4)
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1001 book reviews > Mother's Milk - St. Aubyn

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Kristel (kristelh) | 4113 comments Mod
Read 2015
2005 book by British author, Edward St. Aubyn is a humorous and sad story of the Melrose family. As the title hints, it really looks at family relationships; sons to mothers, mothers to sons and wives and husbands all set in the beginning of the 2000s. I really enjoyed Robert's first chapter where he tells the reader his experience of being born. Really, these two children Robert and his younger brother Thomas are really too much. Their language and thoughts are quite beyond belief but very funny and a look at the effects of family on the children. Patrick, father and husband is the most unlikable character but really is kind of the character everyone else revolves around. Towards the end of the book, it came to me that Patrick reminds me of Harry Angstrom (Rabbitt of Updike creation) and Harry's struggles. The final sections, has the family traveling to America to visit the relatives and spend their vacation. The author depicts Americans as fat people living off industrialized food. I guess that means they don't eat industrialized food in Europe. Here's a quote "Factory farming doesn't stop in the slaughterhouse, it stops in our bloodstreams, after the Henry Ford food missiles have hurtled out of their cages into our open mouths and dissolved their growth hormones and their genetically modified feed into our increasingly wobbly bodies. Even when the food isn't 'fast', the bill is instantaneous, dumping an idle eater back on the snack crowded streets. In the end, we're on the same conveyor belt as the featherless, electrocuted chickens."and "The rest of country is just people in huge cars wondering what to eat next." Patrick battles alcohol, drugs, adultery throughout the story. I liked this statement on alcoholism; "Practically anything was less complicated than being a successful alcoholic." So true. And finally another line that I really loved just because we people in Minnesota like to complain of the weather "The climate here is impossible: we're up to our waists in snow until the middle of May, and two weeks later we're living in Vietnam." Anyway, this was well written, funny yet very insightful and sad in many ways story of family relationships in contemporary times.


message 2: by Diane (last edited Jan 31, 2020 07:35PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane  | 2042 comments Rating: 4 stars


Family dynamics in a somewhat dysfunctional family. A common theme is relationships between mothers and their children and the impact of these relationships. We see this in both the main characters relationship with his mother and the relationship of his wife to their children. The characters are very flawed and maybe not the most likable, but I think this actually adds to the book's appeal in an odd way. The book explores some serious topics but there are many extremely funny parts to the book. I burst out laughing on several instances.

I will admit that I was disappointed to learn that this book is 4th in a series I haven't read. It seemed, however, to hold up well on its own (especially since it did supply some of the back story to the series), but I wonder how much better it might have been if i'd read the previous three books. I do want to read the rest of the series.


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