Here at In The Groove, we are a eclectic group of mostly avid readers , and yes, sometimes just on our devices. Nevertheless, the books that come up for discussion more often than historical romance or self-help or the zombie apocalypse are often on the themes of mothers and daughters. With that maternal saint day in May closing in fast , we thought we might revisit the mother daughter stories that have dogged us through time.
If we wanted to get all psych-ee about it, we would say that the Mother/Daughter paradigm is even more impactful than Father/Son. Each coupling comes with its’ own complex set of rules, the difference being that we can’t imagine, no matter how sticky it can get, any kind of finality with our mothers or daughters. Men seem more capable of cutting the cord, but maybe we are just too cray-cray to see it any other way. The circle continues when we give birth and it doesn’t end when we bury our mothers—it hangs on in her rules, her recipes, her disapproval, her love, even her ugly china pattern that we can not bear to give away.
If you’ve not ever sobbed through Joan Didion’s memories of her daughter in “Blue Nights” or held your breath as the holocaust prisoner mother tries to feed her starving baby in Cynthia Ozick’s novella “The Shawl” then you must. Janet Fitch’s incarcerated mother and her daughter in “White Oleander” elevated the adolescent struggle to new heights of anxiety and if you need a really great howl of recognition “Where’d You GO Bernadette” is on the laughter is the very best medicine list of books. Here is our ever-evolving list.
All of our recommendations are curated by Susan & the In The Groove editorial team. In some, but not all cases, we receive a small commission for leading you to what, how and where to buy all this wonderful stuff.