Book Review: Millicent Glenn’s Last Wish by Tori Whitaker
Millicent Glenn is a spunky ninety-year-old widow with a strained relationship with her daughter Jane. Through a dual timeline of present-day and post-WWII, debut author Tori Whitaker reveals the family secret that is the source of the pain and shows readers the impact of generational trauma and how love and forgiveness are the only ways out.
Why this book doesn’t get 5 stars:
The exposition of this book was a little slow. It seemed like I was never going to get into the meat of the story, but when I did, I was glad I stuck it out through the sluggish beginning. I only point this out because it really could cause someone to cast this book aside. I wouldn’t want that to happen! Trust me! It is worth it. I also didn’t understand why the daughter Jane was so rude to her mother, but as I went forward, it became clear.
What I LOVED about this story:
I am fascinated with the 1950’s housewife. Millicent Glenn was a delightfully complex character. She was a wife and a mother, but she also wanted more. The women of that era from my family were similar- they kept the house, raised the babies, and worked, too, but more out of necessity than a desire for personal fulfillment.
The issues of maternal and child healthcare are important feminist social justice issues, and this book does a beautiful job of exploring the way that those issues have evolved. It raised a lot of questions that I’m still not sure I can answer.
Even though Jane’s attitude at the beginning of the book troubled me, I enjoyed the generational dynamic between these two women and Millie’s granddaughter, Kelsey. The ending of the book brought the story full circle and brought me to tears.
Overall, this book gave me so much to think about. It has encouraged me to reconsider writing about my own grandmother and great aunt, both fiercely independent women in a time when it was a man’s world. I hope you will check this book out and I can’t wait to see what Tori Whitaker publishes next!
Note: This book does cover sensitive issues around pregnancy loss that may upset some readers. Whitaker deals with these respectfully.