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Finding Agnes: a novel
AdvisorCoake, Christopher J
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Finding Agnes is the story of Agnes Porter, a mother who suffers from anxiety and depression following the birth of her daughter, Matilda. Agnes’ mental illness is unaddressed and, for many reasons which become clear over the course of the novel, she ends up leaving her husband and daughter when Matilda is five years old. Matilda is then raised by her father, with help from his sister, Rosie, who moves in after Agnes’s unexplained disappearance to help the family. The novel is told in alternating perspectives by Matilda as a young adult who discovers she is unexpectedly pregnant and contends with the decision to continue her pregnancy as well as her struggles growing up without her own mother, and by Agnes in a direct address to Matilda in her attempt to explain the choices and situations leading up to and following her decision to leave.The novel has conflicted and complex characters who struggle with the consequences of their choices, as well as showing how choices reverberate throughout not only their lives but those of the people around them. Finding Agnes is a work of literary realism which explores parenthood, the meaning of family, and the societal pressure women in present-day America feel to achieve—and adapt naturally to—motherhood.