Book Review – Bad Mommy – I Can Be A Better You by Tarryn Fisher

by Maryse on December 29, 2016 · 24 comments

in My Book Reviews

I Can Be A Better You : An shocking psychological thriller
Yeah… I think I’m gonna 5-star it, ’cause I really loved it. It was EXACTLY what I was in the mood to read, it sucked me in, didn’t let me go and then spit me out in PURE Tarryn Fisher glory. This was slightly dark, slightly creepy, over-the-top… and yet totally believable. And I found that ending quite clever… and possibly telling. eek

Or not.

This was the old cover and title. I loved it just as much… maybe even more. ;)

My lips are sealed on that aspect. Although oh BOY I wanna talk about it!!! LOL!!! Especially with the author.

For the most part, the title, the blurb, and that awesome cover, feel true to the story. P.S. That is one of the most awesome covers I’ve ever seen. It entices us into the story (and the right one) in just one glance, without even reading that awesome creepy blurb. Beautiful and eerie. Pure genius, and if there’s a book cover award, this one should get it.

But it’s the story that steals the show, taking us on the exact ride we think we’re going on, with subtle twists and turns as we go, and told in a very clever way. Because, while I don’t always gravitate to multiple POV’s, this one is done EXACTLY right. My perfect preference, as we experience only ONE POV at a time (this story is told in three parts), and each POV introduces absolute surprises that we didn’t see coming at all, as we got to “know” each character through another’s POV. Fascinating. And fun.

THIS (to me) is how you tell a story in multiple POVs. No confusion. Just total enlightenment. Or illusion. Or disillusion (as this, at times, proved to be). I LOVED IT!!!!!!

So what’s it about?

Fig (yep… that’s her name) sees a preschooler, little blonde girl on a playground one day. And fixates on her. Somehow… she’s had an epiphany, and this child is HERS.

As soon as I saw her I woke up from a very long slumber, bones creaking, my heart beating with renewed strength. I closed my eyes and thanked the universe for delivering this gift to me. Then I lifted my phone and took another picture of her because I wasn’t going to be a sh!tty mother.

Their souls are connected.

I added up the dates in my head again. Two years, two months, six days. Could this be the child? I felt certain it was, but there was always that nagging doubt. I’d seen a psychic after all the bad things happened. She told me that I’d stumble across the soul of my child one day, that I’d know it was her.

And she must make, and maintain contact. And so “Fig” follows this little girl’s gorgeous, solid family. Their routines. Learns (or attempts to learn) who they are. What makes them tick.

Was he whistling? Happiness in his shoulders, happiness on his lips, happiness in his step. None of what he’s doing is real. I wanted to reach out and warn him that it’d all be taken from him one day. It’s just the way of things.

And then the perfect opportunity arises. The house next door to this perfect family that she’s obsessed with, comes up for sale. And she buys it. And she attempts to assimilate… er… into them.

They looked like the perfect family, like happiness came easily to them in their grey house. I could already tell she didn’t deserve it.

Bad Mommy.

Becoming the perfect (albeit strangeish and quirky) neighbor. Until she’s just… always there.

That’s what life was all about. Making others want to be you.

And I’ll let you read the rest. ‘Cause not everyone is concerned about Fig. And those that are… might be concerning in their own right. Just sayin’

I was simply delighted by this disturbing story. I LOVE a social study on human nature and sociology and the like. Especially if it’s a “love” story (or an “in-love” story… or an obsessive-love story), no matter how… downward spiraling. Or uplifting. It’s all relative, you know. ;) Things behind closed doors, and all that.

I’d forgotten to take care of myself. That’s what happened when you were sad. All it took was one person to really see you and suddenly you could spring to life. When I got home, I hummed “In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins…

I LOVE figuring out who the psycho is… and who the true psycho is. And if was completely wrong, all along. Or not. ;)

This one’s not that hard though. But it is surprising. Totally a la “Tarryn Fisher”.

I really don’t have any complaints. I mean, the writing was incredible, the story-telling, too. Maybe, I was a bit confused about “George”. I found he wasn’t as “fleshed out” as I expected him to be. But no matter… maybe he’s just a component, you see. Again… I’ll let you figure it out.

Good luck to George and his cold heart. I wasn’t going to be his mommy anymore. I was a mommy to a real little girl, and I’d found her again, hadn’t I? Of all the billions of people on the planet, there she was, just five blocks away. It seemed too good to be true.

And it was a little “gentler” on me than I expected it to be. Things I was imagining would happen… didn’t. And things I didn’t even see coming… did. It was so real and therefore, not so outrageous as I expected it to be. And yet, in reality? It was outrageous!! eek

It’s hard to explain and so I won’t. ‘Cause it’s all in the delivery, and I’ll let the author do that.

A woman’s heart was an awful curse.

Wow. Just wow. I want to get that tattooed on me. And yes… that would make me one of the “fans” in this book. neutral So?!! *blink blink*

But I did love that ending. I read it twice to be sure. ;)


P.S. Thank you to the author for sending me a review copy. That said, I would have one-clicked this one SO HARD on my own. This is right up my alley, and so is Tarryn’s story telling. She GOES there.

Where? You’ll see when you get to the end.


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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

bev December 29, 2016 at 7:39 PM

Oh my. I just walked in to a store and they are playing In the Air tonight. As I read this.
Which makes me think of Stan.
Double uh-oh.

Maryse December 29, 2016 at 7:50 PM


Wait. Who’s Stan?

P.S. In the Air Tonight has done that to me too!!! Comes up just when I’m thinking about it. That song in itself… is creepy. Especially since it seems to have psychic abilities. ;)

Jen C December 29, 2016 at 7:55 PM

Eminem’s Stan? Lol. Fitting!!

Great review Maryse! I completely shared your thoughts. And I agree, I was needing a story like this when I picked it up. Right book at the right time. Was a 5-star read for me too – one of my faves this year.

Kaycee December 29, 2016 at 7:57 PM

YES!! YES!! Totally agree with your review. I loved this book from beginning to end. The three parts were told exactly how they should have been – though I too was a little confused about George?? He was missing from Fig’s POV and then suddenly appeared in Jolene’s POV? Had he been there the entire time?? And don’t even get me started on Darius! Men, ugh! I expected a little more psycho to be honest, it just *spoilerish alert*… BUT… that ending. Those last few words! I read them twice, three times, and then put my kindle down and said out loud, “Ohhhhh, now that’s clever!”

Maryse December 29, 2016 at 8:05 PM

I KNOW KAYCEE!!!! I at first wondered if he was or wasn’t real. Or there? It was a bit weird how that blended… (but not really a spoiler or detriment in the story either way) if you ask me.

OKAY GOOD. It wasn’t only me??? I was like… whoa. What?!!!

Maryse December 29, 2016 at 8:06 PM

LOL YES. Clever… exactly!!! It was so “normal” but just sort of. And yet, so creepy.

But that ending made it.

Tarin December 29, 2016 at 8:11 PM

Believe it or not this is my first Tarryn Fisher book (I know I know

Maryse December 29, 2016 at 8:11 PM

Did you finish it Tarin?

bev December 29, 2016 at 8:11 PM

Yes, Eminem ‘ s Stan. Lol.

I’m pretty sure this is not a book for me.

Maryse December 29, 2016 at 8:12 PM

Who’s Eminem?

*snort* :P

Maryse December 29, 2016 at 8:12 PM

Yay Jen C!!! Yes this will be on my “Best Of” lis for sure!!!!

Tarin December 29, 2016 at 8:21 PM

This was my first Tarry Fisher book (I know I know

Tarin December 29, 2016 at 8:23 PM

It’s not popping up my entire comment.

Maryse December 29, 2016 at 8:29 PM

Hrmm…. I wonder what’s happening?

Are you using a cell phone?

Linda December 29, 2016 at 9:48 PM

This book kept me completely captivated!!! George right???!!! I’m trying really hard not to spoil anything!!! Lol. That ending??!! Well shut my mouth!!!!

Amy December 31, 2016 at 9:02 PM

Just finished it.

Hot damn. Hot DAMN!!!!

The prose…the delivery…the last chapter…the last LINE. GAH I love this woman’s writing!!

And yeah…George…*scratches head* I freaked out a bit on the other post when I hit about the 70% mark. Still not sure what was going on with his character but whatever…the trainwreck going on in the story more than made up for the confusion.

Definitely one of my top ten for 2016…finished it just in time for that. ;)

Maryse December 31, 2016 at 9:06 PM

Agreed!! I’m glad I waited until NOW to prepare my list, ’cause that one is on it!!! :D

Amy December 31, 2016 at 9:08 PM

Run over to the Friday post…I had a book-energy release over there too!!!

Wow, that sounded…awkward… *snort*

Maryse December 31, 2016 at 9:18 PM


Book-energy releases are THE. BEST!!!

Amy December 31, 2016 at 9:21 PM

OH!! And her name (Fig) and the tie-in with the plant…LOVED IT!!!

Maryse December 31, 2016 at 9:26 PM


how’d I miss the plant tie-in…? I’m working on it in my head now trying to remember.

OH YEAH!!! I sort of remember!!! LOL! The whole book and writing was clever as heck.

Amy December 31, 2016 at 9:37 PM

The plant tie-in at location 2127…VERY clever!!

Jean December 31, 2016 at 10:33 PM

Finished too! Great review Maryse! I loved the POVs done separately too and yes, I had to read the last chapter a few times too! Typical Tarryn Fisher, unputdownable and messes with your mind!

Maryse December 31, 2016 at 10:34 PM

YAY!!!!!!! :D !!! She’s clever.

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