The Perfect Mother
by Nina Darnton
Why did you choose this book? this reminded me of the Amanda Knox event
When did you read this book? November 2014
Who should read this book?
Here is a synopsis of The Perfect Mother from Goodreads
When an American exchange student is accused of murder, her mother will stop at nothing to save her.
A midnight phone call shatters Jennifer Lewis’s carefully orchestrated life. Her daughter, Emma, who’s studying abroad in Spain, has been arrested after the brutal murder of another student. Jennifer rushes to her side, certain the arrest is a terrible mistake and determined to do whatever is necessary to bring Emma home. But as she begins to investigate the crime, she starts to wonder whether she ever really knew her daughter. The police charge Emma, and the press leaps on the story, exaggerating every sordid detail. One by one, Emma’s defense team, her father, and finally even Jennifer begin to have doubts.
A novel of harrowing emotional suspense, The Perfect Mother probes the dark side of parenthood and the complicated bond between mothers and daughters.
When I saw the synopsis of this one, I knew I wanted to read it. Though I didn’t closely follow the events of the Amanda Knox trial in Italy, this story very much reminded me of what I did know. An American student, by all accounts smart and polite, is accused of a gruesome murder in a foreign country. Her mother is convinced this is all a huge mistake and does all within her power to convince others that her daughter is the victim of a foreign justice system. And her mother believes in her beyond all doubt….or reason.
After reading the book, I found and watched the Lifetime episode “Beyond The Headlines: Amanda Knox” and now can even more see the similarities. Both girls had to contend with a justice system that plays by different rules than we have here in the U.S. Evidence is presented differently and the structure of trials and juries is different, as are the rules for arrest and trial. In the book, we are able to see how frightened Emma is, but also how belligerent she is towards her mother.
In this story, we also got a look at the mother, Jennifer, and her relationship with her husband and her other children. We witnessed first hand the helicopter-parent effect and how this affected Emma’s choices as a young adult. We watched Jennifer develop relationships with the people hired to exonerate Emma, and we many reasons to exonerate her as well as many reasons to convict her. At the end, even though there is a verdict, we are left with many questions. This would be a great selection for a book club, with plenty of material for discussion! It would be interesting see the verdict your group reaches. You can find discussion questions at Lit Lovers.
My Rating: ★★★★ 4 Stars