Whew! I just finished ‘Bad Mommy’ last night and I’m still trying to process everything I read. This is one of those stories that will leave you questioning exactly WTF you just read. As much as I enjoyed this book – and I did enjoy it – I am so glad to have gotten off of that crazy train! One more hour in the mind of Fig Coxbury and I’m sure the craziness would’ve rubbed off on me.
As many others have pointed out, including Tarryn Fisher, this story has a ‘Single White Female’ meets ‘Fatal Attraction’ feel to it. Although, ‘The Hand that Rocks the Cradle’ is the movie that stands out in my mind, if we’re throwing out movie comparisons. Remember that one? Creepy stuff.
In any case, Fig Coxbury is one seriously crazy lady. There is no disguising the fact that this woman is certifiable. Nutso. Bonkers. Cray-cray. You get the picture. This lady was 100% looney tunes.
Fig sees Jolene Avery and her daughter, Mercy, at the park one day and becomes obsessed. She convinces herself that Mercy is the reincarnated soul of the baby that she miscarried years ago. Fig begins stalking Jolene, going so far as to purchase the house next door to her when it goes up for sale.
Jolene has the life that Fig thinks she deserves. In her mind, Jolene has her daughter and the “perfect” husband, Darius. Fig befriends Jolene and slowly infiltrates every aspect of her life. She hangs out with her friends, invites herself over during family time and shows a complete disregard for normal boundaries and socially acceptable behaviors. If Jolene buys something, so does Fig. It is very, very creepy.
Although Fig’s feelings toward Jolene bounced back and forth between resentment, envy and admiration, somewhere along the way her actions become more laced with malice. She is no longer satisfied to be the friend in the shadows. She wants everything that Jolene has and she begins actively plotting to get what she wants.
At first, I was enjoying the novelty of Fig’s craziness. I kept thinking that Fig was the perfect mate for crazy Joe from Caroline Kepnes’s ‘You’. She was like the female version of Joe with her crazy rationalizations and her stalker behaviors. However, just like Joe, crazy gets old.
After a while, I was irritated with the bat-shit crazy thought processes that made up Fig’s inner monologue. Luckily, about the time that I had had all I could take of her insanity, the POV changed. It happened rather abruptly and I didn’t see it coming, but I was grateful. If the story had continued in Fig’s POV, I’m not sure I could’ve handled it. Ms. Fisher did a great job of impressing upon me the craziness of the situation and taking me right to the brink of what I could handle, and then changing it up before I lost interest.
Darius’ POV is presented next. Surprisingly, he was just as crazy as Fig! I knew this guy was kind of a douche, but the depths of his betrayal was shocking. His duplicitous nature was a complete surprise to me.
Finally, Jolene’s POV is provided. Although all of the narrators were unreliable, Jolene was the only one that didn’t exude craziness. My heart went out to her. She had invited a whole lot of crazy into her life and paid the price. Move away Jolene — far, far away. Change your name. Live off the grid. Hide!
All in all, I enjoyed this trip to crazy town quite a bit. It was definitely a unique and unexpected reading experience. I don’t think I could handle reading too many stories like this in a row, but it provided a nice change of pace. And that ending – creepy. I hope it was a joke. Creepy. Very creepy.