I compiled this list for my library’s blog, and thought I’d share it here as well.
Mother’s Day is coming up… which got me thinking about mothers in recent books I’ve read (plus a couple of classics). Here’s what I came up with…
Mothers who advocate for their children: Love Lives Here by Amanda Jetté Knox
Reluctant hockey moms: Home Ice by Angie Abdou
Mothers who go to sea with their husbands: The Sea Captain’s Wife by Beth Powning
Mothers whose husbands are obsessed with climbing Mount Everest: Above All Things by Tanis Rideout
Missionary mothers: Five Wives by Joan Thomas
Mothers who struggle with addiction: Drunk Mom by Jowita Bydlowska
Mothers who struggle with depression: Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
Mothers of young children: Roost by Ali Bryan
Disappearing mothers: Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Temple
Empty-nesters: Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf
Dream of being empty-nesters: The Figgs by Ali Bryan
To be, or not to be, a mother?: Motherhood by Sheila Heti
To have an affair, or not to have an affair?: Hunting Houses by Fanny Brit
“Hysterical” mothers: Hysteria by Elisabeth de Mariaffi
Eccentric mothers: French Exit by Patrick deWitt
Angry mothers who have been left for younger women: Autopsy of a Boring Wife by Marie-Renée Lavoie
Foolish, tactless mothers: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Shiny, new mothers with stars in their eyes: Anne’s House of Dreams by L.M. Montgomery
Who are your favourite mothers in literature?
18 thoughts on “Mothers in Literature: A List”
I want to read The Sea Captain’s Wife. I remember you recommending it highly. Wonderful books about mothers you have posted about.
You have a good memory!
Thanks for reading! 🙂
Great list Naomi! Recently I thought The Home-maker had a very interesting portrayal of a mother. In my late teens I loved Clara, the mother in The House of the Spirits.
I don’t know Clara… But I can’t believe I left out The Home-Maker – that would have made a perfect addition to the list! (Mothers who should not stay home!)
There are so many wonderful books in here-good job with this blog post!!! Roost is hilarious, isn’t it? And i loved The Figgs too. Ali’s so funny, she’s a friend of mine and her facebook posts are just as funny as her books 😉
I’ll have to check out her facebook page!
So fun! This list was almost like a poem in itself. Lots here that I have read, and would like to read. Re: your very first category, I think you’d enjoy This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel. Happy Mother’s Day! (I always forget it’s in mid-May in North America; it’s in March in the UK and I always forget to buy my poor mother a card at the time, so I’ll be sending her an e-card tomorrow.)
It’s easy to forget just about everything these days!
I really want to read This Is How It Always Is!
My favourite book mom is probably Marmee from Little Women. Which is not a particularly unique choice but there’s something so soft and warm and accepting about her. Happy Mother’s Day to you!
I’d also like to add Marilla to the list – Adoptive Mothers – next time! 🙂
Oh yes, Marilla is a good choice!
Yeah I guess the mom from Little Women is pretty admirable and maybe the one from the novel Room, right? But I’m drawing a blank on other great moms. Your list is good! There’s a new one called Sea Wife by Amity Gaige that is also another one about sailing & the dissolution of a marriage etc. Uh-oh. Why do they do it?
I’ve heard of that one – it’s on my radar!
The mother from Room is a good one (Mothers in Captivity?).
A memorable mother character was Mia in Little Fires Everywhere. She wasn’t perfect (what mother is?) but she really loved her daughter.
I still haven’t read that one, but I did momentarily consider the mother in Ng’s first book…
You must have had fun making this list! I’ve been reading a series of books for younger readers by Monica Furlong, beginning with Juniper, both of which feature girls and young women who are not very close to their own mothers but who are cared for by other women who become like mothers to them; I love the slow development of their loving and trusting relationships, as well as all the teaching about the natural world and healing remedies and legends in a story with a kinda-Celtic feel. They’ve made for lovely before-bed reading (unlike many of the other books in my stack these days).
It was fun! I hadn’t made a list like this in a while. I might get to do a few more like it not that the library has a blog!
Those books sound lovely. And, for some reason, have made me want to re-read Lives of Girls and Women. (??)
Funny, it’s in my stack, as rereading the final one for Madame Bibi’s NADIM. Munro is always a treat.