Both children are soon taking drugs like Mummy. Bliss to make her sleep, both at night or for the afternoon rest, and also to perk her up so that she skates well; she has to take vitamins; and then there are the injections - apparently to make her bones strong (after all a broken bone for a skater is the finish, isn't it?) Skyler? who knows what drugs he takes, just accepts the handful from Mummy.
There are sharp pokes at the American Dream in this book. As a Mummy, your kids should do well; you should go the right church every Sunday; you should have friends who's husbands are like yours. Your children should have "play dates", arranged by Mummies, for they are too young to pick friends, especially the ones your parents want/need you to have. You need to attend the hairdressers and the beauty salon on a very regular basis, you need to be a brilliant hostess - in fact you need to be a kind of Stepford Wife for real. And the children? What they have to suffer is truly dreadful but not because they starve, or have no fresh water, or nowhere to sleep - but the pain for them is as bad, just in a different way. Well, we know straight away that Bliss is dead, and we have several suspects including Skyler.... but it will be very near the end of the 562 pages that we find out who did the killing. Between the start and the finish my heart broke for Skyler - Skyler who might be the killer - and his broken life.
I was just horrified about the way some people live the American Dream and if you think it's not real, just look at the Real Wives of Texas/New Jersey/wherever somewhere on your TV - it's not for me! A complicated novel, but with not too many characters. An eye-opener, a fat read. I like Oates and her "under the microscope" tales of American life (We were the Mulveneys was another deeply sad but worth reading novel). I had to concentrate, but I enjoyed the read.