Friday, April 17, 2020

Book Review | The Need

43385901. sy475

Rating ⭐

I haaaaaaaaaaaaaated this book.

Two things:
1. Get this woman some meds
2. For the love of God, stop talking about her constant lactating. Fucking hell.

When I finally slogged my way to the end, I honestly sat there for a minute thinking, "What in the actual fuck did I just read?"

The premise is that Molly is a mother caring for her two young children while also working as a paleobotanist at an excavation site called The Pit.

Turns out The Pit is some kind of tear in the universe where our world has overlapped with the millions of other worlds that exists on different planes with us at the same time.

Either that, or this broad has gone crazy.

Honestly, it could be a combination of both. So much is left up to the reader's own interpretation.

I went into this with an open mind, knowing full well it would be a major departure from what I typically read, and especially what I read in regards to fiction. But I read Ethan's review here and was really intrigued by what he said and also what the blurb on Goodreads said.

I was hooked at first, as the book starts out immediately with an intruder in the house as Molly is caring for her children. Even once the intruder was revealed and we started getting more information about what might be going on, I was at least still kind of into it, even though overall I was disappointed in who the adversary turned out to be.


Also, the whining.

As a parent, I did not connect to this AT ALL on that level. Molly is a big fat whiner. I read some reviews on Goodreads after I had finished the book and so many people were raving about how it just captured the essence of motherhood and blah blah blah. Except I felt it did not. At all. And maybe that is just me and maybe I am super blessed with a super easy human to raise (which IS true, because she is awesome).

The farther along I went on this fucked-up ride, the more I could not wait to disembark. I only finished it because I had to see if it could somehow redeem itself, somehow follow any of the threads that most interested me. Sadly, it did not. So much was left unanswered, which I would normally not find to be a big deal because books like this always leave mysteries behind. I think one of my biggest issues though is that there were SO MANY avenues to explore further and not a single damned one was touched on.

I was especially fascinated by the items found in The Pit. There is a Coke can with a label that is different from any label ever known to be produced, a penny minted in the year the book was set (which Molly forces herself to believe as simple contamination from her or a fellow worker), and a Bible with additional text so different from any Bible we have today. I wanted to know so much more about that Bible, and about the crazies it was bringing out to The Pit, and the hate mail that was written because of it, etc. But we never get any sense of how Molly or her co-workers go about trying to understand the items. Sure, tourists visit the site to see what's going on and what other weird relics they might uncover, but we never get an explanation about the fanatics who are furious about the Bible. Molly has the sense to take the items out of the display, but then has no plan for what to do with them except hide them. Awesome.

There are all kinds of philosophical debates we could have over the book. Was it all a metaphor for women losing their identities when they become mothers? Maybe, what with all the whining and lactating. Is her experience the extreme physical manifestations of postpartum depression? Possibly. Literally, your guess is as good as mine.

There was a reviewer who lamented the low rating of this book and said something to the effect of it being a sign of unintelligence. I thought that was a pretty big load of rubbish, because let me be the one to say it: there is nothing here to actually "get". I feel bad for those posting, saying they don't get it and asking for people to help them understand. I want to give them all hugs and tell them not to worry about it, because they missed nothing. The book was simply that boring and left far too many threads dangling.

I wanted to know so much more about The Pit. I was highly intrigued by the idea of the multiple-universe thing, but how does it connect to The Pit? Is The Pit a portal that somehow connects all of our many universes together? Does it then look the same in every universe, or is different - perhaps a phone booth in another universe, a dog house in another. The possibilities are endless.

I also wanted to know, why Molly? On the whole, she was utterly uninteresting. So, was it because she is so exhausted from working and parenting while her husband is away, and falling apart and going crazy, that the intruder is pulled into her universe to pick up the slack? Or did she have some kind of connection to The Pit? What caused the intruder to come for her and not, say, one of her co-workers (if it was not for the aforementioned reason)? Was she supposed to figure out what The Pit was? If so, the universe picked the wrong person to do so because she definitely was not interested.

I feel like the ending was pretty cut and dry as to what became of Molly and the intruder. I don't see the big hubbub about it. We get the Biblical story that applies to the situation, and then the melding happens. Or did it only happen in Molly's mind? Could be. Was the intruder ever really there? Maybe not. Like I said, she needs some meds. Of course, then she would not be able to breastfeed anymore, but hallelujah we could stop hearing about her lactating.

This book had such potential, but ended up being such a major disappointment.


  1. i wish my memory was better: there's quite a few parallel world books written by older sci fi authors, Heinlein, Asimov, Bradbury and like those, that are excellent... a bit of research would turn up some of them, maybe...

    1. I love the idea of parallel worlds, I think it is so interesting. Even though sci-fi is not my usual fair, I wish this book had explored that more.

  2. Sounds like a really interesting premise but *really* badly done! But I did LOL about the lactation...!

    1. OMG THE LACTATION! Constant breastfeeding, milk dropping, milk leaking, MAKE IT STOP! We get it, when we become mothers, our bodies are not entirely our own for a while, but for fuck's sake! I 100% support breastfeeding and did it for as long as I could (which admittedly, was not long due to a combination of events in the hours after Eleanor was born with her being taken to Children's hospital for a bowel obstruction and me not being able to leave my hospital right away due to the emergency c-section, and having a low supply in general), but the constant mentioning became such a distraction. I feel like the author was using it to prove her points, but I think she went so far with it that it ended up just being nonsense by the end.

  3. This book seems to have gotten widely diverging reactions. I may approach it, but with caution.

    1. You may end up liking it so much more than I did. There were just so many things that could have been explored and fleshed out, that I was not impressed with the final offering.

  4. I feel so bad that this was such a dud for you! The one good thing about following each others blogs is that we get exposed to different kinds of books that we wouldn't normally approach, so yay for reading something different!

    I can definitely see how your personal experience as a mother could impact your reaction to Molly. She definitely isn't winning mother of the year any time soon! As a gay man with no kids, perhaps my impression of parenthood is clouded. Either way, thanks for giving this one a chance and shouting out my review. Onward to the next one!

    1. Don't feel bad at all! I am still glad I gave it a try, even though I wanted to throttle Molly for a lot of the book, but then I also wanted to throttle the intruder too because she was terrible in a different way. I am up to #14 on Sun Down and #17 on Eight Perfect Murders, so we will have plenty to talk about there, I hope!

    2. Yay! Seems like your fellow library readers are moving quickly.

    3. Thank goodness! I was starting to feel like I would never get these books!

  5. I am sorry this one was such a dud for you. I also read Ethan's review and thought that this book sounded like something I would like. I am not so sure anymore.

    1. It honestly might be me. I have to KNOW STUFF. And that is mainly why I stick to non-fiction. There were just so many loose ends or avenues simply not explored. AND DEAR GOD, THE LACTATING.


Thanks for visiting my little book nook. I love talking books so leave a comment and let's chat!