Maddy’s mom, who throughout the story is rarely identified by her first name, is introduced as a doting mother who would do anything to make sure that Maddy is safe and happy. As a doctor, she is created to be a presumably trustworthy character, so the reader does not immediately question any of the decisions she makes about Maddy’s lifestyle of routine and isolation. However, Maddy’s mother behaves irrationally at times, giving the reader a glimpse into her fragile mental state.
Maddy’s mother’s mental health unravels when Maddy discovers the truth about her illness. Although Maddy has been deprived of a normal life, her mother is also a victim who has created a life of isolation for both her and Maddy, in a delusional attempt to prevent any more loss. In the end, Maddy’s mother begins to get the psychiatric help she needs and can let Maddy go. This act earns Maddy’s forgiveness, but it also suggests that she forgives herself for all that she has done to hold Maddy back.