The Mother’s Promise: A Novel
By Sally Hepworth
Published: 2018, St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Literature, Fiction, Family Life, Mental Health
When the doctor gave Alice Stanhope the news, she was thinking about Zoe. Was she all right? Was today a bad day? What was she doing? In fact, Alice was so swept up in thoughts of Zoe that when the doctor cleared his throat she startled.
Imagine you are a relatively young mom, with a teenager daughter who has severe social anxiety, no husband, a difficult past. Your daughter has been your whole life; because of her anxiety, you have not had an opportunity to make connections with other adults, you are alone in the world, besides your daughter.
Imagine that you are a teenage girl, suffering from severe anxiety for most of your life. Because of your anxiety, the only friend you really have in the world is you mom; the only one who understands you completely, the only one who accepts you despite how your anxiety affects her life, the only one you could ever rely on and count on. Now imagine that one person, your whole world, has been diagnosed with cancer.
They have been a family of two for a very long time. They have only ever had each other to rely on. Now they face the possibility of losing each other. Now, they have to open themselves up to help, to relationships with other people, in order to survive this crisis.
I cannot say enough good things about this book. Sally Hepworth beautifully writes about the intricacies of a mother/daughter relationship. She has a fantastic way of capturing the positive and negative aspects of understanding and coping with anxiety from both the daughter’s viewpoint as well as the mother’s perspective.
The author was able to include and develop so many facets of life into one book. Mothers and daughters, being a single mother, dealing with social anxiety, cancer, finding your place in the world, life and death. It was a wonderfully, bittersweet story that I enjoyed reading. I definitely recommend it.
The truth is, I’ll never be normal. I’ll never be able to stand in front of a group and ad-lib a speech. I’ll probably never walk down the street without worrying if people are looking at me, I probably won’t be able to talk to a boy without sweating and shaking. But I’ll try to do these things anyway. So I won’t be by myself anymore. So I’ll be out in the world . . . with you.