Book Review: Just What Kind of Mother are You? – Paula Daly

Just What Kind of Mother are You coverTitle: Just What Kind of Mother are You?
Author: Paula Daly
ISBN: 9780802121622
Pages: 256
Release Date: September 3, 2013
Publisher: Grove Press
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4 out of 5


Lisa Kallisto is a harried working mother, struggling to keep up with her kids, her marriage, and her job. She never feels as poised or put together as her close friend, Kate, the perfect wife and mother, and even Lisa’s best never seems good enough. When Lisa forgets that Kate’s daughter, Lucinda, is supposed to come over for a sleepover, and Lucinda goes missing that very night, Lisa takes it upon herself to discover what happened to the teenager, as she feels responsible for Lucinda’s disappearance.

Snapshot Review:

Just What Kind of Mother are You? is a thought-provoking examination of responsibility coupled with an intense psychological thriller. Readers will fully sympathize with Lisa’s struggles as a mother, and her failures provide great fodder for discussion. As a result, this would make a great book club pick.

Full Review:

If you like psychological thrillers, then Just What Kind of Mother are You? is a novel you should take notice of. It’s a great read just for enjoyment’s sake (Daly will keep you hooked from beginning to end), but it’s also incredibly thought-provoking. The author balances well between the thriller storyline and introspection and personal development of the characters. This means it’s multifaceted and will intrigue the reader on multiple levels.

Lisa is an incredibly sympathetic character in Just What Kind of Mother are You? There are times the reader wants to shake her because it’s clear she’s overwhelmed and needs help but doesn’t know how to ask for it. As a result, she makes mistakes in her parenting and misses things that, as a mother, she really shouldn’t. However, the reader can’t judge her because it’s understandable; being a working mother is difficult. And when it comes to stress, we’ve all been there.

As a result, the reader becomes completely involved with Lisa’s storyline, and when Lucinda goes missing, they can feel her pain, her anger at herself, her disbelief that this could have happened on her watch. She feels responsible—and it’s easy to see why—yet it’s not her fault. The title of the book applies on different levels; readers will be continually reevaluating what it means as the novel progresses.

There’s also a parallel storyline in Just What Kind of Mother are You: the fact that other girls have gone missing, and the personal story of the woman investigating these crimes. Daly ties these multiple plotlines together very well. It’s well-written, gripping, and provides a lot of discussion points, making this a perfect book club pick for the fall.

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  1. I think I told you I liked this book, but the ending ruined it a bit for me, it felt rushed, like she tried to tie it up too quickly.

  2. This sounds so so good. I think I”ll relate very well with the main character 🙂

  3. I picked this up at BEA – will give it a shot!

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