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Chapter 20 - The Mothers


Mother's Day is a day set aside to honor not only our mothers but also our surrogate mothers and the influence mothers have had on history and society. It is actually celebrated all over the world usually in the months of March or May. Modern Mother's Day claims its origin here in the United States as Anna Jarvis first held a May memorial for her own mother in 1907 although she started her campaign for a national holiday in 1905. Although not a national holiday until 1914 and declared the second Sunday of May, many states actually started celebrating it as early as 1911.


There are so many stories about mothers that I'm sure I couldn't list them all if I tried. There are supportive mother/child relationships, difficult mother/child relationships and terribly destructive mother/child relationships in stories and everything in between. While Dave and I were both lucky to have terrific, nurturing moms, not everyone has had that experience and those experiences make interesting stories.


Here then are some books where mothers figure predominantly in the story.


Behind the Scenes At the Museum by Kate Atkinson - This multigenerational story is narrated by Ruby Lennox who starts at birth and leads you through the saga of an extremely dysfunctional family.


Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang - This is a memoir by Chang who describes the changes in China over the many generations of her family and their impact, especially the women.


Of Women and Salt by Gabriela Garcia - This is another maternal saga which takes place in Cuba. Starting with Maria Isabel in a cigar factory, the story follows her children and grandchildren to present day Miami.


Room by Emma Donoghue - The story, told by a 5 year old boy, is about a woman and her son trapped in a shed by a man who kidnapped the woman when she was a college student. As Jack's mother tries to teach him and prepare him to escape, the tension story's tension builds.


The Color of Water by James McBride - James McBride had always been told by his mother that she was a light skinned black woman. Many years go by before McBride finally finds out the truth about his mother and father.


My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout - Lucy Barton is recovering from what should have been an easy operation when her mother comes to help her. Of course, with her mother, comes all the family baggage that has been in the backseat for years.


Ladder of Years by Anne Tyler - Have you ever thought of just walking away from your family? Walking away from expectations and routine? Delia Grinstead does just that and this is her story.


Do you have any good books about mothers to recommend? Please let me know!