Wednesday, May 14, 2008

May: Mother

The Year of Fog by Michelle Richmond: a review

A photographer named Abby has recently become engaged to Jake, a single father and is trying to bond with his 6-year-old daughter. Abby takes Emma to the beach one day, looks away for a few seconds to take some photos, and when she turns back Emma is gone. Abby and Jake launch into a full-scale hunt for Emma, but the very few clues they have don't lead anywhere. The strain takes a toll on their relationship and the wedding is postponed indefinitely as their search continues with ever-dwindling hope.

I picked this book for the BAM challenge because the theme for this month is "mother" and I thought the book was about a mother who loses her child. Instead, it is a woman who hopes to soon becom a mother to a child, but instead makes a mistake and loses her. Abby is racked by guilt and questions why she ever believed she could be a mother when she can't even keep a child from harm. Woven into the story of her search for Emma are some of her childhood memories about her own mother and the rest of her family; meanwhile, Abby receives updates from her younger sister who is pregnant with her first child. There are many mothers in this story, and women who want to be mothers, and people without mothers. It fit into the theme for Mother's Day month even more than I expected.

For a large portion of the book very little is happening other than Abby's internal struggles and the impression that she and Jake are doing the same things day after day as the search for Emma stretches on for the better part of a year. But somehow it was strangely compelling and I found myself spending every moment I could spare reading this book. It was dismal, for obvious reasons, but also completely satisfying.

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