If you have a Mom, this book is for you. If you love her, hate her, miss her or still have her, read Missing Mom. You'll get a new appreciation for the steadfastness of motherhood, the beauty of all those simple things are mothers do for us. I don't think I'll ever forget this wonderful book.
This book was a little hard to get into at first. But tells the story of Nikki Eaton and her life trying to get over the tragic death of her mother. How she gets over this death and realizes what is important in life. You get to see Nikki morph into a beautiful butterfly, who is still growing when you finish the book. Joyce Carol Oates did a tremendous story in this book and her characters are so alive and realistic. A wonderful read that will stay with you long after you've finished the book.
I've always loved Joyce Carol Oates, and chose this book of hers to read for its title, and its cover. What I expected and hoped for was a story about a mom, say a mom of twin toddlers, who runs away on a fabulous adventure, is missed by all, and returns triumphant. But this story is about a 31 year old single woman named Nikki Eaton who is too busy living her own life to be bothered with her mother's, and then her mother is dead and Nikki suffers debilitating guilt for a year. So that was jarring.
Oates does such a beautiful job on the character of the mother Gwen Eaton, I actually grieved for her. I also enjoyed the bitchy bossy older sister Clare, whose marriage and children and luxurious home made Nikki feel small in comparison; and the sisters' complicated relationship and constant sparring was so lifelike.
My only real problem with the book was the main character Nikki. I just didn't get how she was perceived... Oates seemed to be stressing Nikki's sexiness, but the way she described her fashion-sense, I just kept cringing for her (braless in t-shirts, platform translucent glitter shoes, skin tight white mini skirt!). I have to be honest and admit I kept picturing her in big round purple Joyce Carol Oates spectacles, eek.
Though being hard to get into at first, Missing Mom turned out to be an enjoyable read. Joyce Caol Oates developes Nikki in such a way that you follow her on a metamophasis of sorts following the tragic death of her mother. In the beginning you learn of their mother and all of her quirky little traits that any pair of daughters would point out..... then toward the end you learn of a different mother that once was. It was a humble story and made me giggle in parts, think of my own mother and giggle again.
To be honest, I was disappointed in this book. I thought it was going to include ways to cope with the death of a parent. In this situation the Mom is murdered, which brought in a whole different set of feelings. Once I realized it was not a natural death, I had to shift my focus.
I don't know why this didn't grab me. Maybe because the pain of loss didn't resonate with me - just that this woman started to bake bread and befriend people in need - like her mom!
Then we got a nice bow-tied story of her falling in love with the right (tm) guy, who wasn't smooth or sexy but was a good (tm) man. And you saw it coming for 300+ pages, but it only happened in the last ten - like, "oh, yeah, I still need to get them together."
In writing this review, I just decided to deduct another star.