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The Mothers: A Novel by Jennifer Gilmore

The Mothers: A Novel

by Jennifer Gilmore

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746252,752 (3.08)2
Applying for an open adoption after several unsuccessful years of trying to conceive, Jesse and Ramon are disheartened by the bureaucratic labyrinth of red tape, training sessions, and approvals they endure.



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Obsessive. After all the trials and tribulations the "prospective adoptive parents" went through, I found the ending to be particularly incomplete and unsatisfying. ( )
  flourgirl49 | Aug 21, 2014 |
Audio narrated by Tavia Gilbert, one of my favorite narrators! Need to buy this ASAP.
  ahappybooker | Feb 7, 2014 |
Audio narrated by Tavia Gilbert, one of my favorite narrators! Need to buy this ASAP.
  ahappybooker | Feb 7, 2014 |
Audio narrated by Tavia Gilbert, one of my favorite narrators! Need to buy this ASAP.
  a.happy.booker | Sep 24, 2013 |
A raw and honest examination of one couple's desperate journey towards parenthood, The Mothers is, in part, inspired by Jennifer Gilmore's own experience of navigating domestic open adoption.

After miscarriage, fertility drugs and multiple failed IVF attempts, Jesse and Ramon turn to adoption as a means to create the family they want. With international adoption all but ruled out due to Jesse's medical history and long waiting lists, they decide to register with a agency to participate in an open adoption. As a well educated, heterosexual couple Jesse and Ramon expect their profile will be well received, but after the interminable process of paperwork is finally complete all they can do is wait, not for a child...but for a mother to choose them.

Jesse's yearning for motherhood is achingly raw, and as I experienced a period of infertility myself, I was deeply sympathetic. Related in the first person it's a gripping account of the ups and downs of Jesse and Ramon's quest, it's effects on their relationship and the

The process of open adoption seems incredibly brutal. Jesse and Ramon are forced to wrangle with petty bureaucracy, under-performing agencies and poor screening. I was rather horrified to learn that desperate couples are regularly preyed upon by fraudsters looking for money, attention or some combination of both. They are so incredibly vulnerable as they can do nothing but wait for a birth mother to choose them. Gilmore is not unsympathetic to these birth mothers, and raises interesting questions about the birth mother's role in open adoption and the possible complications and benefits of the arrangement. There is some anger here, as well as heartbreak, resignation and hope and it is all completely believable.

As Jesse struggles through the process she worries over the questions of what it means to be a mother, what makes a good mother and what compromises she is willing to make in order to become a mother. She studies the mother's she knows, while gazing wistfully at their bulging stomachs or swaddled infants. She considers the experiences of her own mother, who made her career a priority, and those of her over protective mother in law. She wonders what sort of mother she will be, she wonders if she will ever get the chance to find out.

The Mothers is a confronting and poignant story of family, motherhood and the yearning for both. If this echo's Gilmore's own experience with the process (and there are suggestions it does) this is a rare glimpse into the darker side of adoption, of what comes before the happy ending, and then is forgotten. ( )
  shelleyraec | Apr 12, 2013 |
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