Shel: Over time I've learned that I need to pay attention when I'm reading Tarryn Fisher's works; in Bad Mommy I felt like I was reading with 3 eyes: one eye on the surface plot and character, one eye on her style and structure, and one eye on the "Easter eggs" she's known to throw into her novels... so it's no wonder I finished the last sentence of Bad Mommy completely sated; my brain is full--it's been feasting on Bad Mommy for days--and now it's just trying to find a quiet corner to digest it all. Court: For sure. We would be doing everyone a disservice to give away too much, but there is just so much to love about this book. Having once been a friend with a pretty manipulative woman who took advantage of me all-the-time...I am fascinated by the sociopath and psychopath. (Funny too that we had an hours long conversation once about the different nuances between the two...hhmm) The psychological aspect of this one is intense, especially with never knowing exactly how it would all work out.
Shel: When it comes to plot and character, I selfishly have no desire to chop up this novel into small bites; I feel like if I even tried to I'd never stop. Instead I'll say that as disturbing as some of these characters are, I think it's probably more disturbing that we either see parts of ourselves in Fig or Darius or are blinded by them. Court: I did that too...there were times when jealousy and one upping is part of the human makeup and really caught me off guard. I don't want to be a Fig though! Shel! Help me not be a Fig!
Shel: And as usual, Fisher's style and structure always satisfies my appetite for a book that leaves me with more to ponder. She makes interesting choices with the details and deciding which ones to emphasize or not as the novel continues, the clever observations her characters make, and the way the pacing seems to speed up with each character and chapter all added up to a very well constructed novel. And the endings? Tarryn Fisher is masterful in the way she ends her novels but Bad Mommy's ending just blew me away. Court: It did. Do NOT read the end first, because you'd really just deserve to be kicked in the butt for that. Savor each morsel as they are revealed to you, at exactly the right time. I am always awed by how Tarryn does that. She has the foresight into how she'd like her book to go...so we get details at exactly the right time for the character. I also loved how much an unreliable narrator our characters are. A doctor I work with likes to say "There's your version, my version, and the truth." So, to have each persons point of view was unexpected, and really just fascinating.
Shel: Finally as a fan and avid lurker in all things PLN, I know faithful readers are going to love the allusions to all things in the TF universe (books, people, places). I know as I'd note one allusion to something, I wondered just how many others I missed or made into something that was actually nothing. Insert Tarryn Fisher cackling at my foolish attempts here. Court: Haha...metafiction at it's finest, right? Blurring the lines of fiction and reality just enough. Bad Mommy is a treasure trove of the deepest, darkest parts of human nature, and I for one am glad that I wasn't afraid to dive in. Tarryn metaphorically held my hand through it, and while I know the story was for her...it really helped me a lot too.
Shel: And I'll end with a plea--No pressure, Fisher..just keep doin you, but please keep doing it--never stop. Keep giving us the unexpected. Keep us hungry and then feed us with something we never even knew we wanted. Court: Amen, to that.
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When Fig Coxbury buys a house on West Barrett Street, it's not because she likes the neighborhood, or even because she likes the house. It's because everything she desires is next door: The husband, the child, and the life that belongs to someone else.