Oh Emma Flint, your claws are so sharp. You sunk them deep into me and did not let go. I had to read this book as quickly as I could, racing through to find out who killed these children. Who caused these little deaths?
You twisted my emotions, Ms. Flint. You played with my preconceived notions. You made me think about what a “good mother” should really look and behave like without rubbing my face in it. Can a good mother be sexy? Can a good mother work nights? Can a good mother sleep around? Can a good mother drink? Even typing these words my rural, conservative upbringing screams from the depths of my present, more liberal self, proclaiming “No! If she was a good mother she would be home! With her children! She wouldn’t drink! Her entire focus and reason for being would be with her children’s well being!” You awakened that voice, you make me remember my resolve to be better, less judgmental.
Oh Emma, your exploration not only of what a good mother should be, but also what form of grief is proper was so thoughtful. What is the proper behavior to expect from a woman who has lost both her children? How sneaky to have both those requirements nestled in the same sentence, as if to say that we are not concerned with how a man reacts. We wish for men to be men! Men don’t cry! Why would we expect emotion, the rending of garments from a man? If a woman doesn’t cry, they must not care. They must not be grieving. Where is her sadness? Perform your grief for us so we can decide if we are convinced.
And if we women do not meet the standard, if we deviate from expectations, we must be taught a lesson. We must be made to cry, to be emotional. We must be broken. The voice of your story speaks volumes to women everywhere, declaring that even if our circumstances aren’t as serious as the one in this book, every day we are forced to die little deaths until eventually we are broken, until we are what everyone expects us to be instead of who we are.
E-dawg, this book was the realest. It terrified me and made me nod with agreement. This is the world. This is the world for women, and it is a dangerous, sneaky one.
I salute you. This book is a triumph. Anyone who does not take the time to struggle and hold their breath through this book is missing out on something powerful.