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The Crack Magazine


A Good Enough Mother

Bev Thomas, Faber & Faber

Ruth is the head of a psychological trauma unit in London who works to help people who have undergone serious mental stress, including children who have witnessed a family member being killed or people who have been raped. She is highly respected by her colleagues but her world is turned upside down when she is assigned Dan, a young man with a number of issues. What particularly unnerves Ruth is that Dan looks very like her son, Tom, who left the family home unexpectedly one day 18 months ago. Tom’s current whereabouts are unknown. Bev Thomas has worked as a clinical psychologist and this really shows in her debut novel because the dialogue between doctor and patients really crackles with the ring of truth. What’s more impressive is that she has fashioned a story that asserts its grip slowly, but with inexorable force, without ever having to resort to a whole bunch of unlikely narrative shifts. Eschewing whizz-bang-ery, and jarring hand-break turns, she has crafted a book that stays with you long after the satisfying denouement.