The School For Good Mothers is the upcoming debut novel from Jessamine Chan, and while it’s yet to be released in the UK, it has already been optioned for an exciting new TV series.
Some of our favourite reads, such as Malorie Blackman’s Noughts & Crosses, Dolly Alderton’s Everything I Know About Love and Raven Leilani’s Luster, are all upcoming series adaptations we have to look forward to.
Now, joining the ranks of highly anticipated drama is the debut novel from Jessamine Chan. The School For Good Mothers is being released in the US today (4 January) and will be coming to UK bookshops on 3 March.
The book follows one young mother after a lapse in judgement lands her in a government programme which seems eerily like Big Brother. It’s futuristic, dystopian and hones in on the idea of ‘perfect’ parenting.
It has already garnered attention from the likes of Afua Hirsch, who has described it as “a haunting tale of identity and motherhood” while Pandora Sykes has said it is “destined to be feminist classic”. Jessica Chastain is clearly also a fan of the novel as her production company, Freckle Films, has just won the rights for its TV adaptation. According to Deadline, it is believed that Chastain beat a number of rivals to the rights.
Already being compared to the eerie premise of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Chan’s debut novel promises to be full of that same page-turning dystopian drama that we cannot wait to see translated on screen.
The book’s synopsis reads:
“Frida Liu is struggling. She doesn’t have a career worthy of her Chinese immigrant parents’ sacrifices. She can’t persuade her husband, Gust, to give up his wellness-obsessed younger mistress. Only with Harriet, their cherubic daughter, does Frida finally attain the perfection expected of her. Harriet may be all she has, but she is just enough.
“Until Frida has a very bad day.”
It continues: “The state has its eyes on mothers like Frida. The ones who check their phones, letting their children get injured on the playground; who let their children walk home alone. Because of one moment of poor judgment, a host of government officials will now determine if Frida is a candidate for a Big Brother-like institution that measures the success or failure of a mother’s devotion.
“Faced with the possibility of losing Harriet, Frida must prove that a bad mother can be redeemed. That she can learn to be good.
“A searing page-turner that is also a transgressive novel of ideas about the perils of ‘perfect’ upper-middle class parenting; the violence enacted upon women by both the state and, at times, one another; the systems that separate families; and the boundlessness of love, The School for Good Mothers introduces, in Frida, an everywoman for the ages.”
As well as Chastain executive producing the series, Finding Ohana director Jude Weng will also be directing.
The Taiwanese-American director and writer already has an impressive assortment of TV experience under her belt and has helmed over 50 episodes of television. From Blackish to The Good Place and her debut Netflix feature Finding Ohana, Weng was the first Asian-American woman to direct a half-hour broadcast network pilot.
While further details are yet to be announced regarding casting and release date, we’ll be sure to update this space as soon as we know more.