The School for Good Mothers

S. & S. Audio. Jan. 2022. 11:56 hrs. ISBN 9781797135458. $23.99. F
Frida is a single mother of 18-month-old Harriet. She works full time as well. One very bad day, a series of poor choices and worse luck lead to Frida’s being charged with abandonment and neglect. To have any chance of regaining custody of her child, she is required to participate in a new rehabilitation program. The one-year residential program pairs her with an AI-enhanced robot child, with whom she is to learn good parenting skills. The tasks set for the mothers and their robot children have completely unrealistic goals—for example, one task is to get the child to go to sleep in under five minutes at every bedtime. If the mother does not reach that goal, she is given a zero. Zeros lower the chances of regaining custody. At the end of the year Frida appears before a judge who not only denies her custody but terminates her parental rights entirely. Frida decides to flaunt the system one last time. Chan’s debut creates a horrific yet believable scenario for the not-too-distant future, capturing the frustration and fears of fighting a system rigged against you. Beautifully read by Catherine Ho.
VERDICT Highly recommended.
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