The Almost Mothers

My book review of The Almost Mothers by Laura Besley

I was so pleased to receive a preview copy of this book. The fact that the title had mother in it felt like I would be able to relate to it immediately. With a collection of 26 flash fictions and short stories about the joy, pain and strangeness of being a mother, this was a very interesting book. 

A couple of stories were a little futuristic and slightly surreal looking at mothers through aliens eyes or into the future with dire consequences.

Initially, the second story I read shocked me. Calling the baby ‘it’ made me feel uneasy and then leaving ‘it’ in the garage sounded so wrong. I discovered had I read the title I might have guessed what’ it’ was earlier, although by the time I got near the end, everything started making sense. 

Favourite stories 

Some of my favourite stories from this collection include :

  • Mothers Anonymous 
  • Down to Earth
  • Breakthrough in Motherhood Programme
  • The Almost Mother

Mothers Anonymous is an ironic twist on the AA and a good start to the short story collection. 

I liked Down to earth which looked at mothers through an aliens/scientist viewpoint ending in inconclusive result which I guess is the essence of life. You can make as many predictions, theories and rules as you like on how to be a good mum but the results will always be inconclusive. I also found the Breakthrough in motherhood programme fascinating and disturbing. It’s one way of dealing with unwanted pregnancies. Even though neither of my pregnancies were unwanted, I do sometimes wonder what my life would be like if I didn’t have kids but not to the extent of erasing any memory of them. 

Finally, I found the short story sharing the title of the book quite bittersweet. A mum in every way but it was still not enough. 

Too realistic

To Cut a Long Story Short used to be, and still is sometimes, an interpretation of my typical day. The way it’s written also feels like the author has taken a deep breath and tried to do everything that needs to be done in the precious few minutes she has between feeds, naps and cleaning while still working out when she can stop and chill and enjoy her tea.

I remember when the girls were younger, all I ever dreamed of was sitting down with a hot cup of coffee and a chocolate biscuit. 

Everything is fine is another that’s close to home. You want to say something but you’re just like, yes I’m fine because you are ok but also, what was I thinking?

Overall, I enjoyed reading all the stories in this book and I think all mothers will be able to relate to one or more of the stories in here. 

Author Biography 

Laura Besley writes short (and very short) fiction in the precious moments that her children are asleep. Her fiction has appeared online (Fictive Dream, Spelk, EllipsisZine) as well as in print (Flash: The International Short Story Magazine) and in various anthologies (Adverbally Challenged, Another Hong Kong, Story Cities). 

The Almost Mothers is her first collection and can be purchased here from the 20th March 2020:

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