Mother Knows Best

A thrilling book on what it means to play with human genetics and the cost it has on society.


  • Want a sci-fi thriller
  • Like genetics/biology sci-fi
  • Want a book where people keep secrets

TitleMother Knows Best | Author: Kira Peikoff   Rating: 4/5

A thrilling book on what it means to play with human genetics and the cost it has on society.

A little 8 year old boy, Colton, dies, due to a genetic mutation his mother passed on to him. His mother, Claire, is afraid to have any more children, but her husband Ethan wants to try again. Claire agrees, but only if they go to s fertility doctor of her choosing: Robert Nash.

Claire lies to Ethan about Nash, and goes behind his back to secure the healthy child she desperately wants. But Nash and his assistant, a brilliant postdoc named Jillian, see Claire’s child as more than just “another healthy baby:” it’s their ticket to scientific stardom. And neither will stop at anything to make sure the world knows what they have done.

A sci-fi thriller set in more current times, Mother Knows Best tackles genetic engineering, what it means to be a parent, and the morality of producing lab babies without regard for consequences.

I really enjoyed the story and felt invested in every character. The story jumps between character viewpoints in a deft way that really seals the stories pieces together into a tight and, frankly, human read. The story reminds me of Little Fires Everywhere, where you can see the different sides of a moral dilemma. Each character had, in their own right, “honorable” intentions, even the postdoc Jillian, who was meant to be the villain of the book.

I don’t oppose human engineering, test tube babies, or the like, and think if it enhances human health and welfare, then it’s progress and worth it. But I can see how genetic powers need to be regulated, not vilified, but regulated.

Mother Knows Best is one of those books that are perfect for bookclubs or for discussions on ethics within a fictional context.

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