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Reviewed by Teodora Totorean for Readers' Favorite
Unwell by Marie Chow is written as the confession of a mother-to-be to her unborn child about her decision to not to be a mother. From the first pages, her life unfolds with all the sufferings and happy moments, achievements and failures, love stories and difficult childhood, the absence of her father and the near poverty experience. The main character is a Chinese woman who came to America with her family at a young age. Getting closer to the due date, she decides to write this journal for her child, in which she tells her life story up to that moment as a legacy of who she was and why she made the choices she did. Other characters populate the story, from an absent father who divorced her mother for not having a boy and a mother who didn't always make the best choices, to the more recent two ex-boyfriends: the perfect potential American husband that would build the perfect American dream with his chosen one, and the aspiring poet from Ghana with a Ph.D in Chemical and Process Engineering - none of them being the father of the unborn child.
Written in the first person, Unwell is a literary piece that keeps you interested in the story throughout. The character’s recollection of her life is vividly depicted and the writing style is a mixture of narrative and introspective analysis. The main character has a complex personality, full of contradictions, partly shaped by her past, partly by her inner incapability of being happy. The journal that she is writing is a testimony gathering not just her life story, but her hopes of happiness for her child, as any mother would want. She may be “unwell,” but she definitely is unforgettable.