Self and Motherhood

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buffalogirl Avatar


There has been a recent uptick of novels regarding motherhood and women's roles in society which is understandable given the rise in extreme conservatism in America in the last twenty years. Alexis Schaitkin’s Elsewhere brings forward via speculative fiction the fears that I believe many women currently have regarding their ability to live and work as equals to men in our society without limits established by gender.

When I read the First Look available through #BookishFirst I was intrigued by the book's premise and its setting.

The storyline was strong and easy to follow, but I did find my interest lagging occasionally during the journeys of the central character, Vera, outside the colony. The characters were believable, and I found the use of German street names interesting. I loved the location. We vacationed in the Pacific Northwest last summer and I felt that I knew exactly where this town was located and could picture it perfectly somewhere far back in the North Cascades. The descriptions of the physical surroundings transported me to the village with its soft mist urging everyone to get home by lightly swirling uphill and downhill through the streets in early evening. The physical environment of the book was exactly as it should be.

When I started the book, I was focused on the dystopian setting and what happened to the women who suddenly disappeared. By the end of the book, I realized that I was more concerned about the concept of motherhood and what our current society expects of women.

This would definitely be a great novel for book club discussion. There are so many opportunities for discussion: motherhood, women's roles in society, marriage vs singleness, childrearing, insular societies, friendship, merits of education, etc. I will definitely be presenting it to my book club for consideration.