Publisher's Note:  

Nikki Eaton, single, thirty-one, sexually liberated, and economically self-supporting, has never particularly thought of herself as a daughter. Yet, following the unexpected loss of her mother, she undergoes a remarkable transformation during a tumultuous year that brings stunning horror, sorrow, illumination, wisdom, and even—from an unexpected source—a nurturing love.

Missing Mom: A Novel

by Joyce Carol Oates

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Overall Review:  

From the start of this story, the Eaton family seems to be quite dysfunctional. Opening on a scene of a Mother's Day gathering, sibling rivalry and contempt are quite palpable. Then, a few days later, a tragedy befalls them all, and Nikki and Clare Eaton are left in charge of holding their crumbling families together.


Joyce Carol Oates accurately captures the role a mother plays in the lives of her children, and what happens when that pillar of support is suddenly gone. The two daughters in this book are both strong and bold in character; at times it seemed overwhelmingly so, as if they were each trying to out-do the other with their emotional strength. I enjoyed the mysterious side of this book--one that dealt with a sneaky criminal and murderer, but I also appreciated the melancholy side dealing with the loss of a mother and the legacy she left.

Content Analysis:  

Language/Profanity: 4 religious exclamations; 5 mild obscenities; 1 religious profanity; 2 anatomical terms


Violence/Gore:  A character is murdered and a close family member discovers this and the scene is briefly described twice, blood covered clothes are mentioned also.


Sex/Nudity:  Adults kiss; a married man cheats on his wife and sleeps with a close acquaintance, two scenes of sex between this couple are recounted, non-detailed; a teen girl becomes pregnant.

Mature Subject Matter:  

Death; mourning; murder; miscarriage.

Alcohol / Drug Use:  

Adults drink; adults smoke; an adult man is mentioned to be a meth addict.

Reviewed By Lydia
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