Cover Image: Motherthing

Motherthing

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I found this book weird and hard to get into. Not really sure how to review it. Very dark and well written though. I feel other lovers of horror would really enjoy this book.
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4.25 - I could write a whole ass essay on how much I enjoyed this book - it’s depictions of mental health, generational trauma and manipulation and most of all, the conceptions of motherhood: what it takes to be a mother, what ‘good’ mothering even looks like and how the conflations of womanhood and motherhood blur to create monsters out of us all

(Also this cover is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen so that knocks it up so many points)
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I am not sure what I just read.  Chaos.  Absolute chaos.  Sometimes in a good way, a funny and self deprecating way.  Sometimes in a way that had me scratching my head and wondering what the.... was going on.  

The narrator was less than reliable, and that added a whole new level to this story.  It was so entertaining, and had me googling recipes with a salmon mold out of morbid curiosity.  Overall I enjoyed it, and would gladly read the next release from this author.  

As to who I recommend it to, that would be only a select few.  I don't think it is for everyone.
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TW: death of parent, suicide, language, drinking, toxic family relationships, gaslighting, infertility, mourning, depression, anxiety, toxic relationships

*****SPOILERS*****
About the book:When Ralph and Abby Lamb move in with Ralph’s mother, Laura, Abby hopes it’s just what she and her mother-in-law need to finally connect. After a traumatic childhood, Abby is desperate for a mother figure, especially now that she and Ralph are trying to become parents themselves. Abby just has so much love to give—to Ralph, to Laura, and to Mrs. Bondy, her favorite resident at the long-term care home where she works. But Laura isn’t interested in bonding with her daughter-in-law. She’s venomous and cruel, especially to Abby, and life with her is hellish.When Laura takes her own life, her ghost haunts Abby and Ralph in very different ways: Ralph is plunged into depression, and Abby is terrorized by a force intent on destroying everything she loves. To make matters worse, Mrs. Bondy’s daughter is threatening to move Mrs. Bondy from the home, leaving Abby totally alone. With everything on the line, Abby comes up with a chilling plan that will allow her to keep Mrs. Bondy, rescue Ralph from his tortured mind, and break Laura's hold on the family for good. All it requires is a little ingenuity, a lot of determination, and a unique recipe for chicken à la king…
Release Date: September 27th, 2022
Genre: Horror
Pages: 288
Rating: ⭐

What I Liked:
1. Oh gosh that cover is perfect

What I Didn't Like:
1. I hate the writing style
2. Saturated words that ramble about trivial things
3. The way suicide is portraited as light hearted fun to get rid of your evil mother-in-law
4. 45 uses of the word salmon!!

Overall Thoughts:
Wtf is this writing? Rambled sentences coating other rambling sentences. Sigh. I really struggled to get through this book enough and to even care about the characters. I found Abby pretty annoying. I hated this book. Normally I'd write this big review but for this book I'm keeping it simple. I. Did. Not. Like. This.

Wtf is with 45 uses of the word salmon????

Final Thoughts:
How can only 288 pages feel like an eternity? Did not enjoy this book at all.

Recommend For:
• Loss of parent
• Marriage issues
• Depression
• Infertility
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This was a really weird book. I’m not sure how I feel about it. There was a lot of repetition that felt like fodder to increase work count. That may not have been the intention but how it felt to me. 

Give it a try if you like strange metaphysical stories.
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This book was implied any domestic horror I had read. I finished with a sense of foreboding and confusion that I am not sure I will get over easily.
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That was a fever dream of a book.

I feel duped by reviews and the description because I was thinking the book would have more of a haunting than it did.

This reminds me a lot of “Bunny” and “Maeve Fly” if you are into this books this is for you, it sadly was not for me.
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This book was nothing like I expect and I loved every second of it. It was dark, twisted, and unhinged.
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I am surprised how much I loved this. The writing was beautifully weird. I didn't want to stop reading and when I did I just kept thinking and thinking about it. The story was weirdly thought provoking and to is really just about getting through grief with a dash of cannibalism. I really didn't even know if what I was reading at the end was really happening or one of her imaginings. I was shocked reading that and I need to know what happens next which I think makes a great book when you want it to keep going forever!
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What if your mother-in-law, who very obviously despised you, begins to haunt you and your husband after her death? What if your husband seems incapable of drawing himself out of the dark? And what if everything else also falls apart? In the middle of this mess is where Motherthing by Ainslie Hogarth will absolutely blow your mind! Thanks to Knopf Doubleday and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. My sincere apologies for the delay in reviewing!

In one of the flashbacks to her youth, Abby explains how the ratty couch in their apartment became a "motherthing" to her. She likens herself to a baby monkey, studied in a lab, who accepts a bunched-up pair of socks as a mother in its desperation for comfort and love. And it works! Abby's "motherthing", the couch, also comforts her, provides a warm place for her to hide when her world and actual mother fall apart. Motherthing, the novel, provides no warm place in which to hide. Hilariously irreverent and explicitly horrific, Hogarth shines an incredibly sharp spotlight onto the effects of parent-child relationships and painful love. Motherthing is a Domestic Horror novel, which means it definitely takes its imagery and plot to the extremes, but it all works to highlight the sore spots the novel is poking at. And the spots are very sore. Motherthing deals with depression, suicidal ideation, abuse (sexual and emotional), and more. It's no light and breezy thriller and even for a horror it affected me quite a bit. Hogarth achieves this both through the plot but also through the way she writes, the insight she shows into its themes and into the human mind. Following Abby as she tries to save the life she envisioned, you'll be sucked into a mind trying so hard to hold on to sanity she may be strangling it. 

Abby and Ralph are in the hospital. Ralph's mother, Laura, tried and succeeded at killing herself and now they're bereft. Or rather, they're a little lost in her home, which houses difficult memories for both. Ralph's relationship with his mother was intense and codependent, and now he seems lost at sea. So lost, in fact, that he is convinced his mother has returned from the dead. Abby tries to save her husband, save the future they imagined, including a child of their own which they would nurture with all the love they didn't receive themselves growing up. But it's all becoming a bit much, both at home and at work. She works at a nursing home and her favourite patient seems under threat from her daughter, who seems insistent on moving her somewhere worse. In her desperation, Abby tries to look beyond the veil and comes up with a plan which will change everything. The story of Motherthing is honestly bonkers while staying, somehow, oddly realistic. The elements at play all make sense, but they are heightened by the shadows that hang over the, by the tension it ramps up, and by the layers of "normality" which are slowly but surely peeled back. The story is enhanced by flashbacks to how Abby and Ralph met and what Abby's childhood and life before Ralph was like. Each of these flashbacks comes at the perfect moment to illuminate something in the story itself and to build a larger picture of who Abby is, or is trying to be.

This is my first book by Ainslie Hogarth but it won't be my last. I was absolutely entranced from the first page by her writing. There is an irreverence to it which makes her characters very real to me, from the way they joke with each other to the truth they reveal about themselves in their actions. As I said above, the writing does a lot to make Motherthing work and make it an incredibly effective horror book. One thing I found fascinating was the way in which some scenes, either flashbacks, hypothetical scenarios, or actual events, were written as if they were a play. It works so well to show the way in which Abby both critiques her own life, looking at it from the outside for flaws, and in which she disassociates from her own life. Sometimes she is at such a remove from herself that she is hardly a participants, while at other times she is right in the heart of it. Add to it that Abby's narration is somehow both hilarious and disjointed enough to be frightening, and it becomes impossible to put Motherthing down. Elements of it are solidly disturbing and you may feel a little bad laughing at certain moments, but this has honestly been one of my favourite reads so far this year!

I want to discuss a few things here which are slightly spoilery, so maybe slip to the rating below if you don't want any spoilers! Abby has a fascination with wanting to bite and swallow those she loves, whether it's her husband or her favourite patient. This idea of wanting to consume, imbibe, wholly take in, what you love, to make it a part of yourself, is something most of us can recognise, if we're willing to admit it. Who hasn't seen a cute cat or a cute baby and gone "omg I want to squish it" or "I just wanna nibble your ear real quick". This was a great example to me of how Hogarth takes something most of us can probably relate to at least a little and then imbues it with extra meaning for the character of Abby. The quest Abby is on is technically one to save Ralph, save Mrs. Bundy, save the lives they're meant to have. But below that thrums Abby's need to figure out what she herself is. Through her traumatic childhood, Abby has built up an enormous wall, but she is not entirely sure if there actually is anything to guard or whether she is just a void wishing to be crammed full of the love of others. This hit me so hard. I have alwyas loved Horror because it is so revealing of the dark underbelly of humanity, but it has been quite a while since a Horror book literally held up a mirror to me and went "Are you worried you're a void? Are you worried your the monster? What are you willing to do to fix this?". I would wholeheartedly recommend this painful experience to anyone who knows it'll do them some good, but do please be mindful of the content warnings as well so you can make a considered decision on whether this book is for you!

I was desperate to read Motherthing when it first came out and now that I've read it I'm kicking myself for waiting so long. This Domestic Horror novel will absolutely leave you a little shattered, but the road there is a delightfully terrifying one. One of my favourite books of the year so far!
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cuckoo crazy. f****d up and uncomfortable. you'll hate the main character:  she's deeply annoying and delulu. twisted family drama. freud lives to see another day. there may or may not be cannibalism. for the record, i loved it
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Ummmm, that was interesting don’t know what to say about this one but it was unsettling, strange, darkly humorous all at the same time. I will say if you do not like strange books I would stay away from this one because there were parts that I wasn’t quite sure was happening but I sure was entertained. I don’t really want to give a synopsis about this book as it’s very unique but I will say the writing was amazing. There were times this author had me not wanting to put this book down while the style of the writing was so engaging there were multiple times I found myself really creeped out from her writing as it really seems to put you into the book. I look forward to reading more from this author in the future. I would like to thank Netgalley and the publishers for a chance to read this book for an honest review.
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I am amazed at how quickly this book took off at the end! From just having sympathy for the main character to her literally murdering someone and feeding them to her husband - that's true horror, y'all. I thoroughly enjoyed all stages of this reading experience and am so excited to read more from Hogarth!
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I do not like to give unfavorable reviews when the premise and the cover are so great, both which made me request this on Netgalley.

The reading experience was different. I have several issues with this book:
- I did feel and identify with the struggles the main character had but all the characters in this book are extremely dislikable and it was hard to feel any empathy because of how they were depicted. 
-The writing was weird and it was hard to put this book into one fiction category. That was the least of my complaints.
-This book is very strong on trigger topics! Suicide threats. Abuse/narcissism parents. Mental health issues.

I would not recommend this book BUT not judging anyone else for enjoying this. 

Thanks to NetGalley, Ainslie Hogarth and Knopf Doubleday Publishing Vintage for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Already available.
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Super dark, witty and weird, viscerally stomach-churning and a psychological horror of sorts. A cruel mother-in-law from hell whose borderline disorder haunts a young couple both before and after her suicide…. Brilliant writing and completely unhinged, I haven’t stopped thinking about it since I finished it….
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OOoooh baby I love a good horror/lit fic!! Weird, creepy stories are some of my FAVES and all of the quirkiness that some people critiqued are the reasons I loved it. 

I loved the commentary on motherhood and familial relationships and I thought that the characters were complex and relatable, which usually I find the opposite in lit fic books. I loved the stream of thought consciousness aspect of the book and felt like I breezed through this one. 

It was dark without being a thriller, satire without being a comedy, and just a perfect mix of all the genres I love. The random bits of ghosts and cannibalism were so random yet perfect, and I couldn't stop laughing throughout my entire read.

Although I loved this book, I could go the rest of my life without hearing about jellied salmon ever again...
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This took me a while to gather my thoughts for, because it was so batsh*t crazy.
Abby’s stress really eminates from the pages, the writing gets just as erratic and unstable as her mind does. It’s not hidden in metaphors, it’s there for all of us to see. The prose gets some getting used to, but it absolutely works. Especially towards the end when we reach the peak.
Abby is a fascinating character to follow. Her worldview is so skewed, you’re either demonized or glorified, and if you’re neither you’re nothing. Her quest for perfect love is so tragic and terrifying.
This was stomach churning, horrifying, and awful to read in the very best way!
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I had mixed feelings about this book. I thought it was going to be more of a ghost story. That is not what it is.
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This was not the book for me. I just don’t think I actually like this genre. The cover is PHENOMENAL though.
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I think I like it a lot because I feel like our main character, narrating, also has ADHD. The way they go off on a tangent during internal monologue is what I do. 

There's paranormal activity within the family home, this is the focus. At times there's not enough on that subject. I wish there was more on the Mother in Law being around.

I appreciate how small details lead up to big situations, but it did run short of an ending. This ending was right for the book but I didn't understand how there wasn't really information on how we got there--it seems off from the middle of the book. I just don't see how that was the connection, the monster should not have been the monster, if you will.
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