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Words from Mothers’ Hearts: To All Moms

(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!

10 Responses

  1. Wonderful post and lovely picture of you and your mom. It’s touching that you pursue books about mothers as a tribute to your own mom.

    I have that book Love You Forever and I’ve read it to my boys several times. It reduces me to tears every time. In fact, I have tears in my eyes now just thinking of it.

  2. Thanks for sharing a picture of you and your mom. I have got Beloved on my shelf, should get to it soon.

  3. What a lovely post. The list of books here sound very inviting. An interesting concept about reading about mothers. Nice photo too. All the best with your continuing listing of more motherhood books. Pam

  4. OMG that picture Matt. It is precious. Being a mother is the most insane thing I will ever do. Some days I feel blessed, and others, well, not so much! I am in a really unique stage right now, that is all I can say. I hope I make it through sane! Love the list of books, except that last one always did creep me out!

  5. Your mom was so pretty 🙂 You look pretty cute, too! Was your mom a reader? Where did you get your love of reading from?

    I am at the place right now where one kid is starting high school. It’s a very strange place to be in. I remember how grown-up I felt when I was in high school and all of the opportunities available to me and it overwhelms me that my son is about to hit all that running PLUS, his DC trip is coming up and all the recent bomb scares are freaking me out! It’s enough just to think he will be wandering around DC without me, I don’t need to also worry about underwear bombs and the like. The week of June 4th, I will be MENTAL!

  6. I think for many of us booklovers we started learning to love the written word because it was our mothers who taught us how to read. Belated happy mother’s day to your mom!

  7. […] –> Matt had a lovely post on his blog, A Guy’s Moleskine Notebook, with a great tribute list of books about mothers for Mother’s Day (which is this coming Sunday!). Share […]

  8. Booties! Those are the cutest! You and your mom are quite adorable in this picture. Books are not my mom’s favorite gift, but we do share a love of crochet and knitting. So I got her some beautiful yarn. Something we can both get behind.

  9. […] Matthew of A Guy’s Moleskin Notebook has an excellent list of books about mothers and motherhood. And Danielle of A Work in Progress has […]

  10. I love this post and the tribute you pay to your mother. Thank you for all of the many book recommendations on motherhood.

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