Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Jenny Milchman's "The Second Mother"

Jenny Milchman is the USA Today bestselling Mary Higgins Clark award winning author of five psychological thrillers, including Wicked River and The Second Mother.

Here Milchman shares her choice for the director of an adaptation of The Second Mother:
I’m going to try to set aside the experience I’m having now with my third novel, which is currently in development as a film—all the real world constraints of an industry as nuts as Hollywood—to focus on my fifth novel, which by the time you’re reading this will have just come out. If we’re not weighed down by reality, we can bring someone out of retirement.

If The Second Mother were being made into a movie, I would want Rob Reiner to direct it.

Rob (if I may call him that, and I think I can, because I worship the guy as a creative) has directed two of my all-time favorite movies, both based on works by Stephen King.

The Second Mother needs Rob’s ability to set an ominous scene with slowly mounting tension, an ooze of suspense. It’s about a woman who moves to a tiny island off the coast of Maine to get a fresh start. She accepts a post as teacher in a one-room schoolhouse. The island is quaint, idyllic, washed with sun and salt.

But once Julie gets there, things start to go very, very bad. One of her students is a boy named Peter, who likes to defy adults, climb unstable structures, and lord his rarefied place on the island over all the other children. At the same time, Peter loves to sing and dance, spend time with animals, and show Julie the secrets of island life. He’s a study in contradictions. And—he’s in desperate need of a mother.

Who is this child really, and is there something wrong with him? Or with the people who surround him?

That tension and question last until the final page of The Second Mother. Translating it to film will take a deft eye and hand.

Rob Reiner knows how to take a situation that appears innocent at first—a nurse with a savior complex and an intense love of reading, a group of tween boys out for an adventure on the railroad tracks—and dig beneath its unblemished skin for the creepy, crawly all too human horrors beneath.

In The Second Mother, the horror concerns the bitter legacy of privilege and wealth, and a doyenne, a grandmother. It’s not easy to expose a sweet old lady for the danger she wields.

But Rob Reiner is the director who could do it.
Learn more about the book and author at Jenny Milchman's website.

My Book, The Movie: Cover of Snow.

My Book, The Movie: Ruin Falls.

--Marshal Zeringue