[NOTE: The main character suffers from a serious case of postpartum depression + there are mentions of child abuse. Please keep that in mind before starting the book.]
Once a woman becomes a mother, she is reborn – with her center of life now being her children. Her every waking thought is consumed by anxieties about their well being and her dreams? Filled with hopes for her lovely little ones.
She would do anything to protect them. Anything at all.
And Jess was no different. She was just a mother, trying to protect her children – from those little germs everywhere, from strangers and predators, from unnecessary exertions – but most of all from herself. SHE was her children’s biggest threat, her mental condition irrelevant to anyone else because no one – not even her own husband and her best friend – tried to see past her mask, to actually notice how distressed she had been lately. Everyone pinned it down to her obsession with perfection, her reluctance to place any trust in anyone other than herself. Her anxieties were irrelevant – something shrugged off as overthinking and even a certain kind of childishness.
But what will happen when she’ll be made to choose between protecting one child or keeping her family from falling apart?
What would she do?
SHE will fall apart instead, in her desperate tries to keep her loved ones from harm; to make sure that nobody snatches her children from her. She will break down like never before – subject to people’s scrutinizing eyes, judging stares.
Reading Little Disasters felt like I was thrown into a world where I would NOT have ventured if I knew what I’d be taking on in the long run. Oh my! This book tested my heart’s patience to bear shock way too much.
A baby has been hurt and her mother is in the line of fire of suspicions from everyone around her. They think the worst of her.
”You are a bad, bad mother.”
Her thoughts keep playing tricks on her mind and her outer world just reflects more of the same.
And the worst of all? Her best friend – the paediatrician who admits Betsy, Jess’ daughter – is suspicious of her friend as well. Liz – the smart, the quick, the no nonsense doctor – is torn between her duties as a friend and her responsibilities as a professional. And the way Sarah has captured her dilemmas is outstanding, worthy of praise. ❤
I can’t tell you how much I adored the author’s way of weaving a gripping plot around these few but VERY intriguing characters – the way Liz’s memories entwined with Jess’ present circumstances left me in complete adoration of Sarah’s writing! Not to mention the ease with which she manages the delicate timing of the flashbacks ABSOLUTELY DELIGHTFUL. It added to the grim excitement that surrounded the plot as I flicked page after page, desperate to find out the EXACT relation between these two friends and their circumstances – the past and the present.
Little Disasters is just as much about motherhood and it’s trials, it’s highs and lows as it is about marriage, the role of a partner, and the need for communication. I was left riddled with a series of scenarios that started and ended with a bold IF ONLY:
If only Jess had shed her fear of being judged and came clean to Ed about her mental state.
If only she hadn’t tried to be so PERFECT and ORGANIZED all the time.
If only Ed had picked up on his wife’s trauma a little bit earlier, and without contempt and horror in his eyes.
When you have lived with someone for more than a decade, you get to know about how they like to do certain things and how best to approach them – especially when they are shelled in and emotionally vulnerable. And the fact that Ed had been too busy with printing money to give his wife and her hard work and struggle at home a good thought was really irritating to me.
But then, so was Jess’ inability to put aside her fears and confess. Much as we’d like them to be, MEN ARE NOT MIND READERS. They usually don’t suspect anything is particularly WRONG unless it’s on a rather HUGE scale OR unless you yourself point them towards the thing that’s been bothering you. We want them to just KNOW but they almost never do. They just tend to train themselves to take things on the face value because its easier and less emotionally taxing to do so. So being OPEN with your partners about what’s been bothering you IS THE BEST THING TO DO.
But of course. for a perfectionist like Jess – someone who had had a serious case of OCD and Cognitive Personality Disorder (which everyone had been unaware of) – this was difficult to do. And I completely understand! But that doesn’t take away from the fact that this behaviour of hers led her into the extreme circumstances she found herself later on – being held under suspicions of being the sole cause behind the serious skull fracture of her baby girl.
Her situation made my eyes well up more than once. Her desperation, her sadness, her frustration at not being able to touch her baby girl, to hold her or any of her children was too painful to witness.
Can you imagine? Taking a child away from her mother?
And then the way Liz’s mother’s secrets crept up just in time to escalate the plot and give it even more intensity and meaning left me thrilled AND cold – both at the same time. THE HORROR ON MY FACE WHEN I FOUND ABOUT WHAT REALLY HAPPENED TO HER BABY SISTER CLARE WAS BOTH GENUINE AND VERBAL. I couldn’t cope with a revelation like that!
And now, I let out a deep sigh, as I finally close the book – feeling as if I have physically endured what Jess and Liz mentally went through. And it’s tiring. And yet, as Galadriel said, hope remains for people who are true and brave of heart. Who come face to face with realisation that forgiveness – for yourself AND for others – is the only true way to rise above pain and hurt.
Look, I didn’t know what I was taking on, how emotionally screwed up I will feel, how utterly helpless in the face of Jess’ confusion and frustration, at the thought of a few months old baby lying in the hospital with her head all but cracked open, from the horrible and pitiful secrets that engulfed Liz’ mother’s past AND present –
BUT YOU DO.
YOU HAVE A CHOICE!
Remember, if you do decide to read Little Disasters – which, despite all the tears and agony, I still 100% recommend – keep in mind that you will be thrown amidst an emotional and psychological storm that will leave you feeling helpless.
And the fun part? You will love it nonetheless. Every single second of that suffering.
SOO??!?! Have you read Little Disasters yet? Did you like it?!
What’s your favorite book by Sarah Vaughan?
AND MOST IMPORTANTLY – Have I convinced you to read this one?! I hope I have BECAUSE IT IS AWESOMEE! You cannot afford to miss it, I am telling you!
PLEASE DON’T MISS OUT ON THIS ONE?! *puppy dog eyes*