My plan for this post, all week, has been to list my rankings of the most memorable mothers in literature. It was easy at first. Molly Weasley, Marmee, and Matilda’s Mrs. Wormwood. It got a bit tougher as I moved to adult memoir, but of course there’s Deirdre Burroughs from Running with Scissors, Rose Mary Walls of The Glass Castle, and, on the side of good moms, Alice Trillan and Joan Didion (whose odes to her daughter are breathtaking and heartbreaking).
And then I tried to list the most memorable mothers of adult fiction. And I got stuck. Ma from Room is still in my head. So is Mary Lee Johston from Push, the novel that the movie Precious was based on, and the role for which Mo’Nique won an Oscar. And then…. um. I got nothing. Zilch.
Obviously I haven’t read every book out there. And I’m sure I’m forgetting some obvious mother characters, but I can’t think of any other standout fictional moms in adult literature. (Other than, of course, Deb Erika’s fascinating characters. Duh.) Why is that?
Is it that writers have so many mommy issues in real life that they want to escape them with fiction? Do authors think mothers are by definition too not complex to be characters?
Recall, even on Sunday, when the Debs named our favorite moms in literature… all YA moms!
So, my friends, please help me fill the list. Let me remind you of the requirements. Said mother must be: Fictional. In adult literature. Truly compelling and complex and memorable.
And, also, to the fiction writers among you: Keep the moms in mind! They have stories to tell!
Ok, stepping off my soapbox.
But really: Help me fill out the memorable literary mom list. Pretty please.