Saturday, May 6, 2023

Book Review: Mother Knows Worst by Sofia Bella Roma: iRead Book Reviews



Book Details:

Book Title:  Mother Knows Worst by Sofia Bella Roma
Category:  Adult Fiction (18+),  280 pages
Genre: Literary Fiction, Novel
Publisher:  Mascot Books
Release date:  December 2022
Content Rating:  PG -13 

Pinnacle Award Winner!
"Author Sofia Bella Roma tells an absorbing story about two people from very different backgrounds falling in love and struggling to navigate the circumstances and people around them. Infusing romance, humor, and plenty of drama, Roma weaves an engaging narrative that keeps hold of the reader until the last page. Mother Knows Worst is not just a dramatic comedy but also a novel that showcases the challenges people sometimes face in adapting to other cultures, especially in relationships involving in-laws. The characters have their own idiosyncrasies, which make them very intriguing to read. Rose and Anil's dynamic feels genuine, as do their respective struggles and conflicts. Recommended to readers who savor drama novels revolving around relationships." - Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite

"A lively, thought-provoking journey into one young woman's marriage, cross-cultural encounters, and life. Mother Knows Worst is recommended not just for novel readers seeking stories of women's experiences, but for reading groups interested in the psychological entanglements between different cultures and generations." - Reviewed by Midwest Book Reviews

Book Description:

After trying her hand at acting, Rose decides to change career paths and enter law school.

She enrolls in law school in a sleepy New England town, only to find that the practice of law is not all she will study. This quirky thirty-something Italian girl falls in love when she lays eyes on Anil, a handsome intellectual from India. The two discover a deep connection and quickly begin a romantic relationship. What could go wrong as their romance blossoms? Their future looks bright. They have each other. They have great friends. They also have Anil’s mother. Inspired by true events, Mother Knows Worst is a humorous and heartfelt novel. Rose is on a path to finding herself, love, and relationships, taking the reader on a delightful and often comedic journey as she explores two cultural worlds colliding.


When a book’s title completely twists a popular ‘phrase’ and gives a similar-sounding one with an opposite meaning, that is a sure sign to sit up and take notice. This book sure did make me curious with that.

The beginning chapters were also clear, introducing the lead character’s life through a session with a therapist. This different approach normalising the consultations with a therapist for mental health gave me an immediate positive feeling about the book, as I went into it with an expectation of unravelling the life of a woman who was facing a multicultural lifestyle dilemma.

That was where things changed, though. The story, despite being touted as a comedy-drama, leans more heavily on the latter element to present itself to the readers. The premise is surprisingly simple and welcome – a multicultural marriage where both people have nearly dysfunctional families (but then who does not?) and try to overcome their individual issues versus the collective ‘family weds family’ issues, too.

Even as I appreciate the research that must have gone on behind creating this story, I could find some (un?)intentional discrepancies creeping through. There is so much to unpack in a marriage that goes wrong, and some of it is not always between the two people involved. And it takes a lot more than a cultural divide to break what should necessarily be a union of love.

The story flows with ease and does keep the reader engaged, but a better form of writing without resorting to fragmented sentences will have made it a much easier read. There are also pronoun errors – with the narration slipping between the first and third person (‘me/I’ instead of ‘his/her’ or names) POVs and some easily fixable grammatical issues that could have been avoided.

Being a part of one of the cultures that predominantly feature in this book, I could find myself relating to some of the observations that could become a lesson on how (and how not) to be, and what has to change, I could not help but feel that the callousness in dealing with the subject’s depth is what has cost the book the chance to be an ‘absolutely enthralling bestseller’, or the next big ‘coming soon as a movie’ book.

Overall, Mother Knows Worst is more than just a story about a domineering but misunderstood mother whose life and style are (rightfully) criticised under the awning of an ever-widening cultural divide. It takes on an entire culture and brings out the incompatibilities under a harsher light than most visual mediums had ever done. The story could have worked with better language and presentation, and the focus should have been on this instead of where it now lies.


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Meet the Author:

Sofia Bella Roma is a lawyer in North Carolina. She has been practicing law since 2009. She was first licensed to practice law in Massachusetts and then went on to become licensed attorney in North Carolina. Sofia has spent most of her career telling stories. She regularly performs to judges when litigating her cases. Mother Knows Worst is Sofia’s debut novel. This book tackles common problems in relationships and takes on mother-in-law drama with a quirky point of view. Sofia knows firsthand about difficult relationships since she has been practicing law as a divorce attorney. She currently lives with her son and their pet lizard. She has a love for the arts and enjoys making people laugh.

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