Thursday, January 20, 2011

Book Review: Mother Load

“Mother Load” by Lambda Literary Award winner KG MacGregor features Anna and Lily Kaklis. The two women have decided to add to their family and give their five-year-old adopted son, Andy, a brother or sister. When the doctor announces they are pregnant, both women are ecstatic, but wish it hadn’t happened at this particular time. Anna’s business has been hit hard by the recession and one of Lily’s clients has been accused of murder so she is facing months of preparation and then a long trial. In addition the pregnancy, Anna must work hard to save her automobile dealerships and Lilly has to find a way to keep her client out of jail for having killed her abusive husband.

This is an unusual book in that the main characters don’t break up. Their relationship is solid enough to withstand the ups and downs at work and of Lily’s pregnancy - the tiredness, the hormone-induced mood swings, and the general crankiness that pregnancy often brings out. At one point, Lily’s brother-in-law gives Anna good advice to help Lily get the rest she badly needs and to deal with other non-pregnant spousal issues.

This is a well-told tale of love - between spouses, between mothers and son, and between extended family members. Some of the most memorable scenes in this book are about Andy. He, too, must deal with Lily’s pregnancy and struggles with whether his moms will love the new baby more than himself and if they will have time for him. How Lily and Anna deal with Andy’s fears is done sensitively and creatively by MacGregor. At each point, the mothers are able to assuage the poignant concerns of the soon-to-be big brother. The other characters, from Andy’s cousin Jonah to Anna’s sister Kim, shine as well.

While this is the fourth book in the Shaken series featuring Anna and Lily, you needn’t have read the first three books to know the characters. MacGregor develops the characters so that readers new to the series will feel as if they’ve known them for years. There is, however, a reference in this book to an earthquake that apparently occurred in an earlier book leaving the reader to wonder if she’d been reading too fast and missed an entire earthquake. Other than that small misstep, there is nothing else to take the reader out of the story.

MacGregor is a talented writer who doesn’t hold back on the trials and tribulations of being pregnant. She tells, with equal force, the ups and the downs. If you’re thinking about getting pregnant or know someone who is thinking about it, this would be a good book to give them.

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