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Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Other Mother by Gwendolen Gross

Ever wonder what your new next door neighbor really thinks of you? I mean, you think she's a bit odd for leaving a high powered career behind to become a stay at home mom while you work 80 hour work weeks, are pregnant and determined to jump right back into the work force the moment your baby is born. Well that's the premise behind a delicious new novel by Gwendolyn Gross. It's called The Other Mother and it's Gross's third novel (following Getting Out) and this time, it documents the front lines of the Mommy Wars, but its real strength lies in exposing the complex inner battlefields motherhood can open up.

Eight months pregnant Amanda, a successful children's book editor and dedicated New Yorker, picks up with her lawyer husband and moves to suburban Teaneck, N.J. Her new neighbor, Thea Caldwell, is a full-time mother of three who still lives in her childhood home and who arrives bearing brownies. When the newcomers take extended shelter in the Caldwells' basement following a damaging storm and, later, when Amanda hires Thea as her newborn's nanny, the growing intimacy between the two breeds resentment, bitterness and misunderstandings. The series of external crises designed to create tension and suspense are, in the end, less compelling than the women's own inner demons, revealed through alternating, and overlapping, first-person narration. Jersey resident Gross shows the strife between SAHMs (Stay at Home Moms) and WOTHs (moms who Work Outside the Home) to be a lot more nuanced than it's often portrayed. To order The Other Mother today, Click Here.


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