“Otherhood” by William Sutcliffe— Three Mothers

Sutcliffe, William. “Otherhood”,  Bloomsbury, 2019.

Three Mothers

Amos Lassen

William Sutcliffe originally published “Otherhood” as “Whatever Makes You Happy” which then inspired the Netflix film. “Otherhood” in which three mothers try to save their grown sons from themselves.

Gillian, Helen, and Carol are three suburban mothers who are friends who have known each other since their sons were babies, and have met in a regular coffee group for years. Now their sons are thirty-four-year-old slackers with no wives and no children. They never call it does not seem that they will ever reach post-adolescence. lifestyles anytime soon. Carol has an idea that each woman should drop in on her son for an unexpected weeklong visit and find out what’s really going on. The mothers then set out to check on their sons. 

Both very funny and insightful about family life, this is a great read for parents who yearn for a closer relationship with their adult children, and for the younger generation who seem to have just the opposite but who really hope that their parents will make everything better.

Matt is an editor for a men’s magazine called “BALLS!”, and his life is all about videogames and sex with underage models. Paul lives in a gay commune and has secretly fathered a child with a lesbian couple; and Daniel, who gone to Edinburgh to grieve after breaking up with the love of his life.

I love the characters, both the  slacker sons and the meddling mothers who attempt to take their sons apart. Of course, having had a Jewish mother myself, I have a point of reference. What I really love here is how writer Sutcliffe is able to use hilarity and heartbreak at the same time and even in the same sentence. He gives us a sensitive and moving look at the evolving relationships between mothers and adult sons while at the same time presents a meditation on miscommunications between sexes, generations and families. Romance, humor and pathos come together beautifully.

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