Friday, May 12, 2017

Book Recommendations: Books Featuring Influential Mothers... Both the Good and the Complicated

Mothers are often portrayed in literature as having a heavy influence on their children, both in positive and not-so-positive ways. Since Mother's Day is right around the corner, I thought I would share some books that feature both positive, healthy relationships with mothers, as well as some of those that feature more complicated relationships with mothers. No matter what relationship you may have with your mother, it is always interesting to read about the dynamics of other mother-child relationships. My mother is easily someone whom I consider to be my best friend, and I feel extremely blessed to have such a great relationship with her. Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there!

The Secret Keepers

The Secret Keepers by Trenton Lee Stewart (Review)
I loved the relationship between Reuben and his mother in this book. I considered his mom to be the unsung hero in this book as she tirelessly works multiple jobs to make sure that her son is taken care of. In addition to this, she refuses to let Reuben see her complain about how hard she works, and she just continuously sets a great example. 

Flowers in the Attic (Dollanganger, #1)

Flowers in the Attic by V. C. Andrews
If you've read this book, you know why this one is on here. The Dollanganger children's mother is... well... questionable. Let's just say this falls under the 'complicated' category. And by complicated I mean neglectful and mentally damaging. 

The Confessions of Young Nero (Nero #1)

The Confessions of Young Nero by Margaret George (Review)
This one isn't quite as blatantly obvious as others, but I found the influence of Nero's mother extremely strong throughout this book. She is rather ruthless and extremely set up building both her and Nero's power and influence through whatever means are necessary, and there is a bit of questionable conduct between the two as well. Needless to say, I definitely think this is one of the more complicated mother-son relationships.

Little Women (Little Women, #1)

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Little Women is a classic that I couldn't not have on this list. The March children clearly adore their mother as much as she adores them, and the relationships among everyone is truly delightful. If you need some good mother-daughter relationships, this is the book for you.

White Oleander

White Oleander by Janet Fitch
On the other hand, if you want a slightly more complicated mother-daughter relationship, White Oleander might fit that bill. This story and relationship is told in such a beautifully crafted way that makes this book incredibly intriguing to read.

The Hate U Give

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (Review)
I couldn't help but add this book to my list because of how fantastic Star's mother is. She is one of the strongest, most supportive mothers I've read recently, and I was beyond impressed. The relationship she has with Star and the rest of her family is wonderful; she is clearly a loving, welcoming woman, but she is not about to back down from anyone or anything. Definitely pick this one up if you want to read about a badass mother.

The Book of Lost Things
The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly
Although David's mother isn't actually physically present in this book, it is her death really sets things in motion. I remember connecting a lot to this book due to the theme of losing a parent, and I found Connolly's depiction of David turning to books and fantasy to help him cope so realistic and engaging. This book is so much more than meets the eye, and I cannot recommend it enough. 

Gilded Ashes (Cruel Beauty Universe, #1.5)
Gilded Ashes by Rosamund Hodge (Review)
This is a super weird mother-daughter relationship set in a Cinderella-inspired retelling featuring a girl named Maia. What makes this one so weird is that Maia's mother, upon her death, made a bargain with the devil that anyone who harmed her daughter would be somehow punished, which essentially means that she always has to pretend to be happy in order to spare them from death. That poses problems when the family you live with generally treats you horribly. I'd say this fits the complicated bill.

Violet Grenade

Violet Grenade by Victoria Scott (Review)
I am going to say nothing about this mother-daughter relationship other than it is not good, and as a result of her early years with her mother, the main character now has severe struggles to overcome. 

The Secret of Dreadwillow Carse

The Secret of Dreadwillow Carse by Brian Farrey (Review)
Lastly, we have a beautiful, loving mother who inspires her daughter both in life and death. This is a delightful middle-grade novel. In this middle grade story, Princess Jeniah is forced to learn how to become queen at a young age as her mother dies from sickness, and this entire situation inspires so much hope and beauty. I highly recommend this book!

Do you have any books to add to this list? Have you ready any of these? Let me know below!

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  1. Great list of moms!! I always like lists with a range. AND I've seen Flowers in the Attic on a few Mother's Day themed posts this week, LOL!! My fave depiction of mothers are the ones in Sarah Dessen's books. They're definitely complicated, but usually the mother/daughter relationships are looked at in-depth.

  2. Really great list! I'm working on a TTT post about my favorite book moms right now and both Marmee from Little Women and Star's mom from The Hate U Give are on that list :)

  3. I completely agree with all of these! Reuben's mother from The Secret Keepers is such a wonderful mother and role model and I am so glad to see her on here - she hasn't gotten nearly as much recognition as she deserves as a character. And now I have even more of an incentive to read The Hate U Give. xD Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous choices! <3

    ~ Zoe @ Stories on Stage