"Motherless Child" Book Review
Written by Glen Hirshberg
2012, 269 pages, Fiction
Released on May 13th, 2014
In the nature of my work, I try to avoid the phrase, "it wasn't for me," because I want to try to find the merit in anything that I watch or read or play. I'll watch an action movie, even though it's not my favourite genre, and generally I'll pride my ability to come up with something critical to say about it and why it is better or worse than other action movies. Vampire stories, apart from a few choice fangs, put me in the exact same scenario, and Motherless Child by Glen Hirshberg has me fighting those four ambivalent words off of my tongue. I can't recommend this book to anyone who isn't big on vampires, but if you're a fan of the Southern grit that the good seasons of True Blood provided, I might just have the book for you.
Sophie and Natalie are two young mothers that live in the South and enjoy the simple pleasures that the geography provides. They go to work while Natalie's mother watches their children, they go to the same dive bar that they always go to, they come home, they go to bed, and then they wake up and do it all over again. The mediocrity strikes the two women when an exciting and mysterious musician named The Whistler arrives at the bar that they frequent and the two become enamoured with him, then subsequently black out until the next morning. Sophie and Natalie awake in the back of a car, one covered with the other's dried and crusted blood, and unable to remember anything about the night before other than the fact that something strange definitely happened and The Whistler had something to do with it. The two women decide that they need to flee from The Whistler's inevitable return and leave their lives behind, but are unable to shake their predator for long.
Hirshberg has a flair for creating an identifiable universe that has a rock 'n' roll influenced Southern atmosphere, with cool, breezy vampires similar to Salma Hayek's character in From Dusk Till Dawn. The syntax of the novel is very easy to read, which could account for why it is so widely loved, as it is appropriate for teen and adult horror fans in structure, just maybe not in context, as it does contain some sexual scenes. The dialogue is a little clunky and less smooth than other aspects of the novel, which is perhaps due to the fact that almost every main character is female, when the author is male. Although fantastic cross-gender fiction has been written in the past and it is certainly not as much of a taboo as it used to be, there is still the occasional piece of literature of film where the female characters sound less like women and more like what men perceive women to be, or visa versa. This book is a capable little story about vampires, but after the exhaustive boom of sexy-undead novels and films after the success of Twilight and True Blood, I wish that writers would put a stake in it already.