Unwell by Marie Chow: A Review

There've been quite a few stops here lately from some amazing authors on CLP's Blog Tours, and today I'm excited to share my thoughts with you on Marie Chow's newest novel Unwell. It's not your typical chick-lit where there's a pretty tie-up at the end, but it certainly resonates past the final page (and just look at that amazing cover!).

Unwell: A Summary
How do you tell your child that you won’t be there when they grow up? UNWELL is the raw, honest story of a mother who writes to her unborn child, sharing her decision of choosing not to be a mother. She doesn’t choose abortion. Nor does she consider adoption. Instead, she decides to give her child a fighting chance in life, without the angst and drama that’s shaped her own bittersweet life.

With a poignant lack of emotion, the young mother shares her life story. As the child of Asian parents who moved to America early in her life, the mother shares how her life disintegrated after her parents’ divorce. From upper middle class suburban to sharing her mean aunt’s house to a one bedroom apartment in a shabby neighborhood, this mother endures the indignity that comes with the change of status. From her father’s absence to her mother becoming a married man’s mistress, her story reads like a tragic Victorian novel set in the 21st century, but that’s where the similarity ends—she is definitely not a shy country miss and she certainly did not take the easy way out. 

Unwell: What I Think
At this moment in my life, stories about pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, motherhood, or raising children in any capacity piques my interest. With an almost-6 month old (?!) at home, it's pretty much all I think about. And Unwell is quite the baby story.

One thing I believe is particularly important for readers of Chow's book is to face it without judgment. It's presented in the format of a diary to the mother's unborn child, and we never really find out the truth about why she won't be present for her baby's life. This doesn't bother me. Some of my favorite books are ones like Gone Girl (not exactly chick lit, I know, but relevant to this statement) where we have no idea what will happen when the book ends. We're left to speculate on our own...and that's part of the enjoyment. For me, it feels like I can participate in the story. It becomes what I want it to be rather than what the author says it is. Some people might say it's an author's job to tell us what happens, but if writing books were for the sole purpose of the author, they would never be published.

Unwell is a story that you need to take your time through...grab a coffee, make sure the kiddos are asleep, and turn off other distractions. It's a "thinking" book and it's worth it. We never know what stories lie behind the people we see every day, and some of them are like this mother's. They don't make much sense because we can only see them through our own perspectives. Unwell gave me the chance to see motherhood from the protagonist's view and because of that, I can understand it. A novel that can educate is, in my opinion, a novel that can always entertain.

If you want to read Unwell for yourself, click here to purchase your own copy from Amazon (it's only $4.99 for Kindle!). And to learn more about Marie Chow and her work, please visit her official website.


Samantha said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Marie Chow said...

Thanks so much for the review and commentary!

C.Curley said...

This sounds sad. I can't do sad when it comes to parenthood and children right now. It makes me a complete mess!! haha!