Title: Look at Me
Author: Mareike Krugel
Publisher: Text Publishing
Date of Publication: 26 February 2018
All mothers are concerned about their children but some are a little too concerned. What happens when this over concern enters the realms of paranoia? Will it destroy the mother child relationship or will it create a whole new stance for motherhood?
Katharine is doing her doctorate in musicology and is a mother of two. More like a single mother of two as she receives very little support from her husband Costas who is away most of the time for work. They have had rough times in their relationship and are seeking separation. More like they’re separated, atleast in their hearts. But that’s not the only problem. Katharine is highly indecisive about anything and everything in her life. She is diffident and constantly confused about what could be done next or what the best next move may be. But that’s not the only problem either. She has to raise two kids Helli and Alex all by herself most of the time.
She wishes to be able to give more time to her children as she never received any during the phases of her life she most wanted parental guidance. She feels like a bad parent. When Alex announces about bringing his girlfriend home then all Katharine can do is hope that she knows how to act around them. Over thinking is a trait that she’s unable to let go. It is this that makes her situation all the more difficult. Looking at her teenage daughter Helli, she wishes to be able to share a positive mother-daughter bond that will allow Helli to confide all her worries to her mother instead of her friends. Generation gap and her own fears prevent her from engaging more closely with Helli who is all too confident and carefree. But that is not the problem too. Katharine misses her mother whom she lost to breast cancer and her sister Sissi is a well established musician and professional who does not understand Katharine’s dilemmas. But what will happen if history decides to repeat itself in the form of a lump in Katharine’s breast?
The novel is moderately paced by its the emotional appeal that will touch readers. As the story rolls out, readers are bound to feel as crippled, helpless and devastated at each point as Katharine. She is suffering not just from indecision but also severe depression. Most importantly, her physical health condition remains hidden from the rest of her family and friends. She buries herself under this paranoia and it is utterly hurtful for readers to see her get worse by the chapter.
To make matters harder, she enters into a consensual fling with an old acquaintance. This makes her more guilty and worrisome about her future and her daughter’s in any case that she doesn’t survive. Strangely, she never visits the doctor or seeks medical help for her physical condition and mental distresses. The whole novel is written in the present tense in an interesting manner of dropping climax after climax without much warning. Perhaps, it is only the title that screams for help as Katharine looks clearly disoriented and in dire need for some professional and personal support to sort out her life and work. But her concern for her daughter remains utmost. The novel has been translated from German into English by Imogen Taylor.
Refreshing and depressing at the same time.