Sunday, June 23, 2019

The Not Good Enough Mother

The Not Good Enough Mother by Sharon Lamb
Beacon Press: 6/25/19
eBook review copy; 200 pages
ISBN-13: 9780807082461

The Not Good Enough Mother by Sharon Lamb is a personal, highly recommended account pf a psychologist who evaluates the fitness of parents.

Psychologist and expert witness Dr. Sharon Lamb observes children and evaluates parents after the children have been removed from their custody. She observes and takes notes, assessing the fitness of parents in order to determine what is in the best interest of the child. Her evaluations will either recommend that the child be returned to their parent or that parental rights should be terminated, opening the children up for adoption. It is a decision that is not always clear.

As many of these parents struggle with addiction, Dr. Lamb's own son struggles with an opioid addiction, which makes evaluating other parents even more challenging on a personal level. Since mother's are often the ones being evaluated to determine if they are "good enough mothers," Dr. Lamb turns the question on herself, is she a "good enough mother?" She knows the daily struggle of an addict to remain clean. She knows the relapses, the lies, and the statistics as she tries to remain compassionate to those she is evaluating, while at the same time keeping above all else the best interest of the child. And, as a mother, she knows that mothers always look for blame in themselves when their children make bad life choices.

Individual situations and cases are discussed with an informative eye for detail and information about what she looks for and observes during various home visits and meetings. The result is a narrative that is both informative and heart-breakingly personal. As a professional, she needs to have boundaries and keep a sense of detachment while she also has a plethora of first hand personal experience with an addict. In concise language and succinct case/visit summaries, she provides details and information in a controlled, neutral manner, keeping her emotions in check, while informing readers what she does and of what she takes note. Her professional neutrality is almost at odds with her personal experiences, providing the reader with the sense of a dichotomy she experiences between her professional life and personal experiences. 

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Penguin Random House

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