A Good Enough Mother: A Novel
Ruth, an experienced trauma therapist, has a hidden trauma of her own. For over a year, her son Tom–twin brother to daughter Carolyn–has been missing. Because he disappeared at seventeen, police involvement was limited, even though Tom had once attempted suicide. In the aftermath of the disappearance, Ruth and her husband separate, and Carolyn moves to Australia. Alone and frantic with worry, regret, and guilt, Ruth finds solace only in her work. Her professionalism is rocked when a new patient enters her office: a young man named Dan Griffin. He’s a rape survivor with significant childhood trauma–and the spitting image of Tom. Ruth’s commitment to boundaries and the protocols of her field fall away. Meanwhile, a chance encounter with an old friend of Tom’s opens exciting new possibilities. Weakened by hope and distracted by Dan’s manipulations, Ruth ultimately sees worlds collide more brutally than she could have ever imagined–knowing, too late, she should have seen it coming all along.
The insider’s view of the therapist/patient relationship in A Good Enough Mother is compelling and the escalating tension of the novel is rooted in the violation of professional norms that Thomas–a former therapist herself–lays out clearly. Thomas doesn’t exonerate Ruth, and the lurching emotional roller coaster here draws us into a character whose very human frailty and fallibility are all too recognizable. That recognition may be the most chilling thing of all.
This page was created by an City Book Review staff member.
|Page Count||352 pages|
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