Mother, Mother- Koren Zailckas

Mother Mother, Koren Zailckas, book
Disclaimer: I was sent this book free of charge (by the publisher) in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

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 family, and when her oldest daughter, Rose, runs off with a mysterious boyfriend, Josephine tightens her grip, gradually turning her flawless home into a darker sort of prison.

Resentful of her sister’s newfound freedom, Violet turns to eastern philosophy, hallucinogenic drugs, and extreme fasting, eventually landing herself in the psych ward. Meanwhile, her brother Will shrinks further into a world of self-doubt. Recently diagnosed with Aspergers and epilepsy, he’s separated from the other kids around town and is homeschooled to ensure his safety. Their father, Douglas, finds resolve in the bottom of the bottle—an addict craving his own chance to escape. Josephine struggles to maintain the family’s impeccable façade, but when a violent incident leads to a visit from child protective services, the truth about the Hursts might finally be revealed.


Mother, Mother is an emotionally difficult book to read, I spent probably about 90% of the book raging at Josephine, and probably the rest of the time feeling sympathy for her family.

There was something about it though. It was completely absorbing. Even when I wasn’t reading it I was often thinking about it. Trying to puzzle out what made Josephine the way she was. Hoping that something made her stop.

It was very easy to feel sympathy towards Violet. She was obviously suffering under her mother regime, but actually I felt more for Will. Will was so completely sucked in by his mother that I could see it having the worst long term effect on him. Because he wasn’t really aware of the effect his mother was having on him he never saw it as wrong, and following what he thought his mother would do would not sit well with his space in the world.

The chapters were split between Violet’s voice and Will’s. You needed them both to really see what Josephine could be capable of.

One thing I would have liked was a bit more insight into Josephine. Why she did what she did, and if she had any rational behind her actions which may have meant she thought she was acting for the best.


This book is not released in the UK until January next year, but you can buy it in the US or pre-order it:

Hardback (£11.55)

Kindle (£10.97)

Paperback- released March 2014 (£6.58)

Other reviews:

If you have reviewed this book leave me a link in comments and I will add it here


Filed under Contempory, Fiction review, Psychology (fiction)

2 responses to “Mother, Mother- Koren Zailckas

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