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by Sue Miller

Recently divorced, Anna Dunlap has two passionate attachments: her daughter, four-year-old Molly, and her lover, Leo, the man who makes her feel beautiful -- and sexual -- for the first time. Swept away by happiness and passion, Anna feels she has everything she's ever wanted.

Then come the shocking charges that would threaten her new love, her new "family" ... that force her to prove she is a good mother.

Download The Good Mother: A Novel epub
ISBN: 0060505931
ISBN13: 978-0060505936
Category: Literature
Subcategory: Literary
Author: Sue Miller
Language: English
Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (September 17, 2002)
Pages: 320 pages
ePUB size: 1437 kb
FB2 size: 1820 kb
Rating: 4.6
Votes: 295
Other Formats: txt docx mbr lit

I recently saw the movie with Diane Keaton playing Anna. A perfect choice for the role. I was curious as to what really took place between Leo and Molly so I bought the book. I have just read all of the negative reviews and certainly agree that Anna is a self absorbed bore but that is not my issue with the story. Why has no one questioned that Molly never asked to touch Leo when Anna was home, since both Leo and Anna claimed that Molly had seen them naked before. Leo said that he got out of the shower and was dancing around while Molly was in the bathroom with him. Doesn't this seem a bit provocative ? He couldn't reach for a towel ? Why did this take place when Anna was not home ? His excuse for letting it happen so as not to upset how this child was being raised ( as an uninhibited free spirit ) doesn't ring true. Anna's problems were not caused by her family. Just because your parents were cold and reserved doesn't mean that you will be frigid. She appeared to be satisfied that Molly was now in a more traditional family with two parents and siblings. I think that she would have joined a commune back in the sixties.
My Mom recommended this book to me after recalling her book-club discussion when the book originally came out. It's not great. There are quite a few frustrating parts that I just couldn't get behind in modern-day. Additionally, it takes about the first 100 pages to get past the build-up of her new relationship, which was drawn out. Unrealistic to me for current standards.
I did not dislike Anna as many of the other reviewers did. I found her to be very real. She is a recently divorced woman trying to figure out her role as single mother and a single woman! Her family is filled with dysfunction and expectations of who THEY think she should be. The family scenes are mundane. It is when Anna finds freedom in her sexuality with Leo that she thinks she has discovered the balance of single mom/single woman. The sex scenes are far from mundane! The "what would you do" aspect of the story is what really gets you thinking. When Leo is accused of inappropriate actions, you put yourself in Anna's shoes and wonder how you would react. I found Anna to be very human, she didn't know what to do and her range of emotions and actions were a nice departure from the idealistic, holier than thou emotions and reactions we tend to get these days. In Anna's world the situation was not black and white. I found myself sympathizing with her rather than judging her. A simple read with some great scruples questions! This book is a great one for a book club discussion!
Sue Miller’s 1988 novel The Good Mother raises a great many questions about the guilt and punishment men mete upon women’s sexual impulses and deeds. Anna (as in Anna Karenina?) divorces her husband and maintains custody of her small daughter. Then her lover, appropriately named Leo Cutter, enacts a mild, yet still disquieting, sexual misdeed with Anna's daughter. Cutter, true to his name, does just that: cut off Anna's primary contact to her daughter, while at the same time bruising and damaging her self-worth, and strength of will. He finished the job her first husband stared.

Reading this book is disquieting on another level. Here we have another story illustrating that women will invariably be punished for having, and especially enjoying, sex. Is Miller reinforcing this paradigm or stereotype, or simply laying out a dynamic that already exists? Do we need such stories anymore, or are they just the confining narrative of patriarchy?

This is difficult to know for certain; all that we know is that in The Good Mother, a woman can’t be a good mother and enjoy good sex. Why this is or even is case, is left for us to decide.
THE GOOD MOTHER is not just the story of Anna Dunlap and the love she has for her child, but it's also the story of why Anna behaved the way she did and why she made the choices she did in her life.
Anna is a divorced woman with a young daughter, Molly. She will do anything for her daughter. But throughout the book, Anna's focus is not always on Molly. She "forgets" Molly. It is while Anna is trying to deal with some important issues that she makes some very foolish mistakes, mistakes that could have been avoided if she had been paying more attention. These mistakes ultimately changes her relationship with her daughter,and her lover, Leo.
The first part of this book goes into great detail the story of her childhood. Without this first part, the reader wont understand totally what makes Anna tick. Everything from her piano lessons, to her relationship with her mother and her mother's clan, help explain why she did the things she did as an adult. Her love of her aunt Babe was a big influence from her childhood. Babe was a very eccentric young woman, and represented to Anna unconventionality and in some ways Freedom. Anna herself seemed to want to be uninhibited, but could not totaly be that way without feeling the guilt that was handed down to her by her mother's family.
The second part of the book dealt with the custody battle that Anna had to fight with her ex husband. The pace was fast in this 2nd part of the novel, and i found that I could not put the book down. I wanted to know what happened next.
I enjoyed reading this book, but give it 4 stars because I felt it could have been written better. The book I think was a bit choppy, with the first part totally being devoted to her childhood. I think it would have read better if the book was written in flashbacks.
I also had a hard time liking this character, Anna Dunlap. As with Sue Miller's WHEN I WAS GONE, i again felt that the main character was totally unlikeable and i didn't feel too much sympathy for her. But I think that is what kept me reading this book. I wanted to find out how Anna resolved her problems. Maybe creating an unlikeable character helped make this book a fast read for me.
This is a wonderful book. Sue Miller creates characters that are immensely satisfying for the reader, and nobody explores the intricacies of human relationships better or more insightful. I've read all her novels and I wish there was an unending supply of them. I'd never read anyone else again!