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Review: The Better Mother by Jen Sookfong Lee

Unphilosophize By Unphilosophize Published on May 4, 2017

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This book was pretty light for being about such heavy things. It takes place at the beginning of the AIDS epidemic in Vancover and one of the main characters is gay. This is a really rough time for him and his friends, not only does he struggle with his sexuality people are wasting away and they have no idea why. The other main character's story starts during the depression. It was just rough.


When Danny was a boy he met Val, a stripped who goes by the stage name The Chinese Kitten. As he grows up he always wondered what it would be like to have Val as a mother as he struggles to connect with his own mother due to cultural differences.


Later in the novel we hear Val's story of how she became a stripper, how she became a mother, and what happens to her child.


Her and Danny reconnect later in the book and they help each other to heal and ask the important question of what it means to be a good mother. Ultimately this question goes unanswered through the novel, but it explores elements of the true answer.


I really enjoyed this novel. I rate it an 8/10. Ms. Lee's style is very fluid and easy to read. The characters that she builds are relatable and feel very real. An exceptional books.

Lost soul. Graduated with my Bachelor of Arts Combined Honours in the History of Science and Technology, and Philosophy in May 2016. Enjoys math, knitting, and baseball. Avid reader and ... Show More

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