Review: Mothers and Daughters by Kylie Ladd

 

Title: Mothers and Daughters

Author: Kylie Ladd

Published: Allen & Unwin September 2014

Status: Read from September 01 to 02, 2014 — I own a copy {Courtesy the author}

My Thoughts:

A thought provoking and provocative story, Mothers and Daughters is Kylie Ladd’s fourth novel.

Caro, Fiona and Morag, joined by daughters Janey, Bronte and Macy, are looking forward to a weeks holiday near Broome to catch up with close friend Amira, and her daughter Tess. It should be a week of relaxation and recreation, but as the days pass, tension between mothers and daughters, and between the girls, rises, testing the bonds of family and friendships.

A novel driven by theme and character rather than plot, Kylie Ladd explores the complicated dynamics between mothers and their teenage daughters and the many issues that divide and unite them.

The relationship between Fiona and Bronte is one of the most interesting, I think. Fiona, hyper critical of her daughter, often laments that Bronte is nothing like her but in fact it is the similarities between them that provokes her. Bronte’s meekness reflects the powerlessness Fiona feels in her life and her marriage in particular and she directs her anger and resentment about the situation at her daughter. Despite Fiona’s blunt and often crass demeanor, exacerbated by her fondness for a drink, I developed some sympathy for her, and was happy to see the seeds of change.

Janey is the least likeable of the group, typifying the worst traits of teen ‘mean’ girls- vain, thoughtless, and self involved. Whereas Fiona is hyper critical of Bronte, Janey’s mother, Caro, eventually admits to willfully overlooking her daughters faults.

“I’ve been too soft on her. I’ve always told her how beautiful and clever she is, and now she believes it….I wanted her to be perfect, because it made me look good, so I acted as if she was.”

Ladd also explores the way that we often reflect our own experience of being mothered in our relationships with our daughters. Caro is anxious about being a perfect mother because hers never had the chance, Fiona essentially estranged from her own mother, has no idea how to close the gap between herself and Bronte.

Mothers and Daughters also comments on the way in which modern city/suburban life has encroached on our relationships with our children, underscored by the contrast between the relationship between Amira and Tess and the relationships between the mothers and daughters that remained in Melbourne.

Through the differing perspectives of Ladd’s characters, other issues raised in the novel include friendship, step-parenting, sex, marriage, home, and social issues such as cyber-bullying. Inspired by the setting, Ladd also explores racism and indigenous culture and community.

I glimpse elements of my own relationship with my mother, and my teenage daughter, in this story of these women and girls, and pieces of mothers and daughters I have known in the characters.

Mothers and Daughters is available to purchase from

Allen & Unwin Iboomerang-books_long I Booktopia I Bookworld I via Booko

Amazon AU  I Amazon US

and all good bookstores.

Also by Kylie Ladd {click the cover for my review}

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Patty
    Sep 04, 2014 @ 12:42:37

    Love your thoughts about this book…I love books like this one!

    Like

    Reply

  2. Debbish
    Sep 06, 2014 @ 16:34:58

    I wondered if (as a non-mother) if I’d be able to relate to this…

    Like

    Reply

  3. Teddyree
    Sep 08, 2014 @ 12:07:19

    I love mother/daughter relationship themed books, my relationship with my controlling mother was very difficult in late teen years but we became good friends. I think I’d enjoy this one, thanks Shelleyrae

    Like

    Reply

  4. mdbrady
    Sep 08, 2014 @ 13:00:45

    this is a topic that I care about deeply. I hope I am able to read this book.

    Like

    Reply

  5. Trackback: September 2014: General Fiction | Australian Women Writers Challenge

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