October 22, 2011

No One Like Mom • Momentary Mother

Momentary Mother book cover
Momentary Mother by Lisa de Niscia
Publisher: Self-published
Publication Date: May 12, 2010
Source/Format: Author (Thanks) || e-book
[I received this book from the author. This in no way affects my review.]

Los Angelena Lulu Rosetti, a thirty-three year old word processor and tarot reader, is urgently summoned by her mother to her New Jersey childhood home to help Lulu’s only sibling, her younger sister, recover from a vitamin-induced suicide attempt. Over the course of Lulu’s one week stay with her too-close family, she’s sure that moving to California was the right thing to do. She’s as certain about this as much as she’s certain that terminating her pregnancy twelve years ago was the right thing to do though she obsessively wonders about her aborted fetus.Lulu’s not alone in her wondering. Other women who wonder seek her out, and through tarot readings Lulu reassures these momentary mothers that they too did the right thing. Lulu can’t tell her family about these women who request readings, but the fun really begins when Lulu finally makes it onto a plane back to her grownup world on the West coast with her mother right behind for a visit of her own.

It took me quite some time to get through Momentary Mother, if I'm to be perfectly honest. I had to adjust to the writing style, plus I did have to work a little bit harder to make sense of everything and put it all into the right context in my head. Though the themes that I really wanted to read about were very much present, I feel like the editing was slightly lacking and the story ended up a bit confusing.

What drew me to the Momentary Mother initially was the promise of a book about family issues. Who doesn't have family issues? I always enjoy reading books that focus on family ties, especially in dysfunctional families. This book was no exception - it did touch on a lot of big issues in families. 

We have the mother that works so hard keeping everything together and perfect and just so; then there's the father who's a man of few words and just goes along with whatever the women of the family want; the daughter that is afraid to embrace life in its entirety and chooses to stay where she's comfortable and pampered and well taken care of. These characters are all written out to be specifically the way I've described them.

And then we have our protagonist, Lulu, who's the wild card, the rebel, the one who's trying to escape all of these issues by living independently and as far away as possible from her family. Lulu is the character that made me want to stick it out and finish the novel just to find out what happened to her. She's independent (or tries to be), she's smart, but most importantly, she loves her family (despite her constant complaints and diatribes about them). I think what I liked most is that I felt I could relate a lot to her, especially being the oldest in my family and (despite sometimes complaining about it) trying to save them and ensure they're all okay.

The deal with the tarot cards was a little bit confusing for me. I appreciated how it helped define certain situations, but it was also just kind of random. 

Overall, I thought Momentary Mother was okay; it actually has a workable premise. It could use a little more work when it comes to the writing to make it a cohesive whole though.


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