Review: The Mothers’ Group by Fiona Higgins

Title: The Mothers’ Group

Author: Fiona Higgins

Published: Allen & Unwin March 2012

Synopsis: The Mother’s Group tells the story of six very different women who agree to meet regularly after the births of their respective babies. It tracks their individual journeys during that first crucial year—and the group’s collective one—as they navigate motherhood and the shifting ground of their relationships with their partners. Each woman struggles in  her own way to become the mother she wants to be, and finds herself becoming increasingly reliant on the friendship and support of the mother’s group members. Until one day, when an unthinkably shocking event changes everything.

Status: Read from March 21 to 22, 2012 — I own a copy  {Courtesy Allen & Unwin}

My Thoughts:

Most women attend a Mothers’ Group after the birth of their first child, eager to share the trials of childbirth and sleepless nights. It can be odd though to find yourself in a room with strangers whom with you have nothing much in common except an infant the same age. The mother’s group I attended after the birth of my first child started with ten members but quickly dropped down to seven. Our group included a stay at home dad, two single mum’s and our ages varied between 19 and 33. We lost one member when her baby tragically passed away from SIDS at just 7 weeks old, and another when a mother suffered postnatal psychosis (much more severe than PND). Our core group of five continued meeting for almost three years until circumstances began to change for each of us.

Set in the Northern Beaches suburbs of Sydney, The Mothers’ Group by Fiona Higgins, introduces a disparate group of women who, despite their differences in background, lifestyle and circumstances, bond during their regular Mothers’ Group meetings.
The novel unfolds in alternating chapters, using the third person point of view, allowing each woman to share their lives. Higgins skillfully develops believable characters to whom the reader can relate. These are mothers you most likely know – the mother who insists on organic food and natural fibers, the mother torn between her career and child rearing – but here Higgins allows us to peer into the privacy of their homes and witness their relationships and hidden desires. Higgins also provides context for her six main characters by allowing us glimpses of their families, the partners and fathers of the children. The emphasis of the novel however is on the burgeoning relationships between the women as their friendships develop from tentative interaction to a solidly supportive network.
While the mothers struggle with the challenges of first time motherhood and the changes it brings, they are unwittingly hurtling towards a shocking tragedy that threatens to shatter their friendships and change them forever. Even though I expected something terrible to happen, when it came I felt I was unprepared. Higgins deals with the aftermath sensitively and realistically with an ending that is hopeful, if not happy.

The Mothers’ Group is an impressive fiction debut from Australian author Fiona Higgins. An insightful portrayal of first time parenthood, relationships and friendships this novel makes for compelling reading.

Available to purchase

Australia: @Allen & Unwin Australia I @BoomerangBooks I @Booktopia

International: Amazon US  I @BookDepository

Also by Fiona Higgins

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. The Australian Bookshelf
    Mar 27, 2012 @ 18:53:35

    Nice review Shelleyrae, sounds like this book reflects the varying experiences of motherhood. I work with new mums and it’s such a satisfying role because they really benefit from support in those early months and years- being a mum is a tough job! I’ll have to keep my eye out for this one



  2. laurelrainsnow
    Mar 27, 2012 @ 20:09:06

    I really like the sound of this one! It caught my eye when you introduced it on It’s Monday…and it reminded me of friendships I developed with other mothers after the birth of my first child.

    I’d love to read this one! Thanks….



  3. shelovestoread
    Mar 28, 2012 @ 01:30:46

    Thanks for posting about this book, ive added it to my wishlist 🙂



  4. 1girl2manybooks
    Mar 28, 2012 @ 11:10:03

    Definitely want to read this one soon! Great review Shelleyrae, you’ve got me adding to my TBR list again.



  5. Trackback: Review: An Unusual Boy by Fiona Higgins | book'd out

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