Her Story is a book club that meets at Hub City Bookshop on the first Wednesday of each month to discuss books about women, written by women.
Meet us on zoom OR in the Bookshop for our book club on Wednesday, May 3rd at 6pm to discuss The School for Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan.
"The state has its eye on mothers like Frida..."
One lapse in judgement lands a young mother in a government reform program where custody of her child hangs in the balance, in this “surreal” (People), “remarkable” (Vogue), and “infuriatingly timely” (The New York Times Book Review) debut novel.
Longlisted for the PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Novel
Longlisted for the 2023 Carnegie Medal for Excellence
Shortlisted for The Center for Fiction 2022 First Novel Prize
Selected as One of Barack Obama’s Favorite Books of 2022!
Frida Liu is struggling. She doesn’t have a career worthy of her Chinese immigrant parents’ sacrifices. She can’t persuade her husband, Gust, to give up his wellness-obsessed younger mistress. Only with Harriet, their cherubic daughter, does Frida finally attain the perfection expected of her. Harriet may be all she has, but she is just enough.
Until Frida has a very bad day.
The state has its eye on mothers like Frida. The ones who check their phones, letting their children get injured on the playground; who let their children walk home alone. Because of one moment of poor judgement, a host of government officials will now determine if Frida is a candidate for a Big Brother-like institution that measures the success or failure of a mother’s devotion.
Faced with the possibility of losing Harriet, Frida must prove that a bad mother can be redeemed. That she can learn to be good.
An “intense” (Oprah Daily), “captivating” (Today) page-turner that is also a transgressive novel of ideas about the perils of “perfect” upper-middle class parenting; the violence enacted upon women by both the state and, at times, one another; the systems that separate families; and the boundlessness of love, The School for Good Mothers introduces, in Frida, an everywoman for the ages. Using dark wit to explore the pains and joys of the deepest ties that bind us, Chan has written a modern literary classic.
"Jessamine Chan’s infuriatingly timely debut novel, The School for Good Mothers, takes this widely accepted armchair quarterbacking of motherhood and ratchets it up to the level of a surveillance state — one that may read more like a preview than a dystopia, depending on your faith in the future of Roe v. Wade...chilling...clever." —THE NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW
“The School for Good Mothers picks up the mantle of writers like Margaret Atwood and Kazuo Ishiguro, with their skin-crawling themes of surveillance, control, and technology; but it also stands on its own as a remarkable, propulsive novel. At a moment when state control over women’s bodies (and autonomy) feels ever more chilling, the book feels horrifyingly unbelievable and eerily prescient all at once.” —VOGUE
"A surreal, dazzling witty tale." —PEOPLE
"This debut novel was so captivating, thought-provoking and beautifully written, everything I tried to pick up next paled in comparison...It was all I wanted to talk about, think about and read." —THE TODAY SHOW
"Intense, unputdownable debut that will doubtless spark conversation about what makes a good or bad mother." —OPRAH.COM
"It sounds dark and weird, and it is kind of dark and weird, but I found it really, really absorbing." —Linda Holmes, NPR
"It’s about Big Things like state violence, family separation, so-called “perfect parenting,” and the unrealistic demands of motherhood, with a little sci-fi fun!" —NYLON
"This scarily prescient novel that's reminiscent of Orwell and Vonnegut explores the depths of parents' love, how strictly we judge mothers and each other and the terrifying potential of government overreach." —GOOD HOUSEKEEPING
"An incisive thriller on modern-day parenting." —HEY ALMA