Bad Mommy is a story that is broken down in three parts, each told by a different unreliable narrator, and will make you question everything, including how you perceive others. It is no secret that Tarryn Fisher is one of my favorite authors, and that Mud Vein is my favorite book of all time (minus Harry Potter, because, you know, it is Harry Potter). Yet, even though I’ve read her entire works, I don’t think she ever comes as close as to the perfection that is Mud Vein, but Bad Mommy is for sure my new second favorite.
“You couldn’t put three crazy people into a story and not have their worlds teeter-totter.”
Also, I just have to state that I started 2016 with F*ck Love, and now 2017 with Bad Mommy. If you haven’t tried anything by Tarryn Fisher, please rectify that in 2017, please. She is honestly in a league of her own.
In true Tarryn fashion, this story surrounds two girls and one guy protagonist. One is a psychopath, one is a sociopath, and one is
Tarryn a writer. The book is broken down in those three parts, yet the twists and turns are, as always, a roller coaster ride. Like, reading Darius’ chapters felt like I was being punched in the gut over and over. I felt so much surprise, heartbreak, and betrayal. No other author invokes these raw feelings from me.
Besides that, you should go into it blind because that’s just how Tarryn Fisher masterpieces are read best.
“We were products of our earliest experiences, replicating the ways we were taught to love, and fuck, and interact with humanity. Some of us broke free of our pasts; some of us weren’t that clever.”
As a warning, I will say: If you do not like incredibly flawed characters do not attempt to read this book. There is homophobia, slut shaming, cheating, lying, stalking, and more. Obviously, Tarryn is an amazing human being who would never condone or justify these things, but she’s also the master at writing really fucked up characters and stories, so I felt obliged to put a warning out there; especially with infidelity, because there is a lot of it. Tarryn writes very morally grey and black characters, and she does so unapologetically.
Another important trigger warning is that the topic of miscarriages and infertility are touched upon a lot. We, as a society, put such an emphasis on a woman’s worth being tied to her ability to bear (and want to have) children. This is something one of our main protagonists will never be able to do, and she doesn’t shy away from her feelings on the matter. In fact, it is the reason she does some pretty scary and horrible things.
“It wouldn’t matter to me if she’d known he was married and thrown herself at him. It was his job to tell her NO, to protect our relationship and keep his dick in his pants”
I can’t speak for the mental illnesses that are very prevalent in this book; but I can speak for the actions of the mentally ill characters: it feels incredibly real. I’m sure most of us have someone in our life that doesn’t have our best intentions at heart, or someone who will always make the situation about them, no matter what, or someone who will never love anyone as much as they love themselves. These traits were so real to me, and I couldn’t help but be very impacted by them and their heartbreaking realness.
“Any good therapist would tell you that sociopaths and psychopaths can fool almost anyone, even them.”
Tarryn weaves a story with the most beautiful prose I’ve ever read in my entire life. The word addicting doesn’t even do her justice. Her books always leave me feeling haunted, and I think about them for days and weeks after completion. She is truly a master at her craft, and I will always read and support her. How is she still an independent author, though? How are the big five not having a battle to the death to sign her?
All of Tarryn’s stories and characters feel real, but this one feels a little too real. Like, I was 99% sure Jolene was Tarryn before the last sentence of this book. I know the beauty is that we will never truly know, but I’m going to believe this was true until the last of my days.