(Taken with mom when I was 2.)
Reading A Big Storm Knocked It Over evoked a lot of memories of my mother, who passed away 12 years ago. Mothers give births to children, nourish them, raise them, think ahead of their problems, worry they will do drugs… While the advice books go only so far, the literature of motherhood is rich, and getting richer. Since my mom’s pass, I have been fascinated by motherhood. I’m grateful to find a connection in books, where I get to know other mothers through novels or memoirs. I have over the years maintained a list on motherhood.
The Blue Jay’s Dance by Louise Erdrich
Erdrich took her baby with her to her little writing house in New Hampshire, where she wrote the book, an impressionistic journal of the births of her three daughters.
Ladder of Years by Anne Tyler
This book is high in my reading list thanks to The King’s English again. It is about a mother who loses herself in the years she spends taking care of her family, a theme she also explored in Breathing Lessons.
Turtle Moon & Illumination Night by Alice Hoffman
Hoffman writes of lives lived for children and the simple gifts, hurt feelings and unspoken emotions that swirl as a family grows up, apart and sometimes together again.
Beloved by Toni Morrison
One of the most haunting books about the fear of losing a child.
Disturbances in the Field by Lynne Sharon Schwartz
A family saga woven together with philosophy.
Family Pictures by Sue Miller
Absorbing story of a semi-dysfunctional but loving family set in the 60’s- and 70’s.
A Big Storm Knocked It Over by Laurie Colwin
A soon-to-be mother anticipates the birth of her child and struggles with the anxieties and insecurities attendant to the enormous responsibility.
The Hand That First Held Mine by Maggie O’Farrell
It’s one of the most memorable book because it shows how fate entwines an ordinary woman to people who forever antagonize her. It explores what it means to have a career and sustain parenthood for a single mother whose scope in life is ahead of her time.
The Family Heart: A Memoir of When Our Son Came Out by Robb Forman Dew
A moving account of her sometimes awkward attempts to come to terms with her son’s homosexuality.
American Mom by Mary Kay Blakely
It chronicles her life as a divorced mother of two sons, scraping to make a living.
The Broken Cord by Michael Dorris
Dorris, who is married to Louise Erdrich, wrote eloquently about his adopted son, damaged by fetal alcohol syndrome in this book.
The World According to Garp by John Irving
Another high priority for me. This book gave voice to “the undertoad,” the panic that lurks in the pit of parents’ stomachs, the primal radar that wakes us to check a sleeping child’s breathing, or to worry until the gravel crunches in the driveway.
Love You Forever by Robert Munsch
It tells of a mother who never stops creeping into her son’s room to watch him as he sleeps, even, goofily enough, after he grows up and moves across town and she has to strap a ladder to her car to climb to his window.
Happy Mother’s Day!