Monday, May 14, 2018

"The Perfect Mother"

Aimee Molloy is the author of the New York Times bestseller However Long the Night: Molly Melching’s Journey to Help Millions of African Women and Girls Triumph and the co-author of several non-fiction books, including Jantsen’s Gift, with Pam Cope.

Molloy applied the Page 69 Test to The Perfect Mother, her first novel, and reported the following:
Page 69:
“What’s your story?” Colette had asked Winnie. But she waved away the question.

“We’ll save that one for another time,” she said, rifling through her wallet. An older woman in front of them turned, a paper cup of roasted nuts in her hands. She smiled, noticing the rise of their bellies. The woman placed her free hand on Winnie’s arm. “You have no idea what you two are in for,” she said, her eyes moist. “The world’s most wonderful gift.”

“That was sweet,” Colette said, after the woman walked away.

“You think so?” Winnie wasn’t looking at her, though. She was staring past her, beyond the stone wall, into the park. “Why does everybody like to tell new mothers what we’re about to gain? Why does nobody want to talk about what we have to lose?”

As she climbs the steps of City Hall, Colette’s thoughts turn to the caption she’d read under Midas’ photo: The baby’s Sophie the Giraffe, a plastic squeak toy from France popular with American parents, and a blue baby’s blanket are also missing. The police are asking anyone with information to call 1-800-NYPDTIP.

Whoever took Midas: why would they take those things? It’s good news, Colette decides, stepping into the elevator. After all, only a person who loves him—or at least someone who doesn’t intend to hurt him—would think to also take his favorite blanket and toy.
How interesting! I think the page 69 test works quite well here, as it raises two questions central to the mystery of what happened to baby Midas, who was abducted from his crib while his sitter slept on the couch.

First, Colette is remembering back a few months to a conversation she had with Winnie (it is her son who was abducted). Winnie and she were still pregnant and Colette remembers an odd comment Winnie made that day--“Why does everybody like to tell new mothers what we’re about to gain? Why does nobody want to talk about what we have to lose?” This comment would come to haunt Colette, making her question what role, if any, Winnie had in what happened to her son that night.

And second, it sets out that whoever took Midas also took his favorite blanket or toy. Hmmmm…what could that mean?
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--Marshal Zeringue