Our January pick for Ballerina Book Club, hosted by American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Isabella Boylston, is “The School for Good Mothers” by Jessamine Chan. Set in a surveillance-filled, dystopian world, the author’s debut novel centers on a mother who faces severe consequences after she makes a poor parenting decision.
When the book begins, we meet Frida Liu as she receives a voice mail from an officer that they have her toddler Harriet, who Frida left home alone while she ran what she expected to be quick errands. For her actions, Frida is sentenced to go to a government-run reform program for “bad” mothers, where she must prove she is fit to get her daughter back.
In an interview with the publisher, Chan states that she hopes readers will have had a “meaningful reading experience. I hope they’ll think about the way our society and government treats parents. On the personal level, I hope they’ll feel seen. Books have always been a lifeline for me, so I hope in some way, I can offer that to readers.”
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