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Bad Moms: 5 Crime Novels That Will Make You Question Motherhood

    All About Bad Moms (aka MUMS if you’re a Brit like me)

    One thing I love reading about is ‘bad moms’ (aka ‘mums’ if you’re a Brit like me!). There’s something very reassuring as a parent to read someone screwing up and ruining their own lives and their kids’ lives in the safety of a story!!!

    In recent years, there has been a surge in the popularity of crime novels that focus on mothers who have gone bad. These books often explore the dark side of motherhood, and they can be both disturbing and thrilling.

    From domestic noir to psychological suspense, these page-turners will have you on the edge of your seat and questioning just how far a mother might go for her family. So check out these seriously twisted maternal instincts. Yowser …

    1) Just What Kind of Mother Are You? by Paula Daly

    In Just What Kind of Mother Are You?, Paula Daly explores the dark side of motherhood, as her protagonist tries to come to terms with the fact she has LOST someone else’s child!

    I love this book, which became part of the TV series starring Anna Friel, Deep Water (2019). The novel is full of twists and turns, as the protagonist’s search for the truth leads her down some unexpected paths. Along the way, she comes to question her own role as a mother, and whether she is really cut out for the job.

    2) Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

    Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies is a thought-provoking novel that follows the lives of three mothers who are all struggling with the challenges of parenting. It’s also a TV series starring Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman and a whole host of other stars  that ran between 2017-2019.

    The novel is told from the perspective of each mother when a crime happens in their close-knit community. Through their stories, Moriarty explores the unrealistic expectations placed on mothers, the judgment they face from others, and the pressure they feel to be perfect.

    Big Little Lies is an absolute must-read for any parent, and it will likely leave you feeling relieved that you’re not alone in your struggles.

    3) Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

    This is one of the most twisted books I’ve ever read, so of course it’s one of my favourites! In Gillian Flynn’s novel Sharp Objects, you get a front-row seat to see just how difficult and complicated motherhood can be. Like the other novels on this list, it also became a TV series (2018), this time starring Amy Adams.

    The novel centres around Camille Preaker, a young journalist who returns to her small hometown to report on the murders of two preteen girls. As she begins to investigate the killings, she also starts to unravel the secrets of her own dark past.

    Flynn does an amazing job of exploring the complex relationship between mothers and daughters, and the emotional toll that tragedy can take on a family.

    4) The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

    The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood is both an iconic and prescient novel from 1985 that has somehow become even MORE relatable forty years after it was first published. It’s a highly-celebrated TV series too starring Elizabeth Moss. You can read my ‘Book Vs Film’ case study, HERE.

    The story centres on a totalitarian society where women are stripped of their rights and forced into servitude. The handmaids are the only women who are still able to bear children.

    They are treated as nothing more than breeding machines. What’s even worse is OTHER WOMEN – aka ‘wives’ and ”aunts’ – literally line up to do this horror to their fellow women so they can keep the population going. This novel will shock and disturb you, but it is also a fascinating look at how far our society could still end up if we’re not careful.

    5) The Good Mother by Lizzie Fry

    Oh, how embarrassing … it’s one of mine! (Haha sorry not sorry).

    My novel The Good Mother explores the dark side of motherhood when Natasha discovers something terrible about her son, Jack.

    The book poses the question: your son is a serial killer. What do you DO? 

    I loved writing this book because I’ve raised my own son to adulthood and as a teen, he was a real tearaway. Anything that could happen, did happen! My husband and I often used to say the only way he could surprise us were if he killed somebody. Luckily that never happened, but it planted a seed in my mind that became this book years later.

    The Good Mother is a harrowing tale of motherhood gone wrong. It’s a story that will make you question your own choices and wonder if you’re really cut out for this whole parenting thing. You can buy it for just £1.99 straight to your Kindle, HERE.

    Last Points

    ‘Bad Moms’ is a rapidly growing subgenre that explores the complexities of motherhood in a crime fiction setting. From brutal serial killers to tough investigative journalists and revenge-seeking private investigators, these novels provide a thrilling look at what mothers may be capable of when backed into a corner.

    Whether you are looking for something suspenseful or an emotional read, there’s no shortage of amazing bad mom books out there waiting to be discovered. So pick one up today and become enthralled with the alluring world of bad motherhood!

    Happy Reading!

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