‘Just What Kind of Mother Are You?’ – Paula Daly

I don’t think that the title sells this book very well, but it is an addictive read. The protagonist, Lisa Kallisto, is quite under-developed as a character, meaning that she’s not 100% understood or connected with the reader; her busy lifestyle isn’t really explained. However, what Daly does present exceptionally well is the reality of how quickly and drastically a life can change in a single moment. We do eventually begin to sympathise with Lisa and her deep guilt, although a small gap in this understanding remains.

Living in a small community means that nothing can go unseen and Lisa’s friends’ daughter is the second to go missing within a short space of time. As soon as we notice that Lucinda’s disappearance does not follow the previous sequence though, Lisa’s sense of guilt increases and Daly really holds onto that until the very end.

Ultimately, Lisa becomes the detective within her own case as she’s publicly blamed for Lucinda’s disappearance; she’s determined to right her wrong. As she begins to unveil the layers of the case, however, she begins to learns how distorted her vision of her life, her town and her friends has been until this point. Through the refreshingly every-day language and writing style, Daly’s novel teaches that the answer is often much closer to home than we initially anticipated.


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