Feminist Fridays: On Mothers and Motherhood in Life and Fiction

I find I’m always interested in feminist perspectives, whether it’s in regards to literature, pop culture, or current events. Feminist Fridays is going to be my forum for discussing these issues, and may come in the form of book (or other media) reviews, link roundups, or my rambling thoughts essays. If you’d like to make a habit of discussing feminist issues on Fridays, join in and leave me a link. If you’d like to contribute a guest post for Feminist Fridays, I’d be happy to chat with you about that was well, so contact me!

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I have a complicated relationship with my mother. She drives me crazy but I love her and am fiercely protective of her. Sometimes I wonder how we can even be related, other times I worry I’m turning into her.

As much conflict as there is between me and my own mother, there’s also a conflict between me and the idea of motherhood. I am turning 30, have been married for 7 years, and still have no desire to have children of my own, much to the dismay of many people in my life. Frankly, I just think I’m too damn selfish and lazy for kids, even if I cloak my decision in the idea of feminist choice.  Then I read about how motherhood can make you more of a feminist or the conflicting perspectives in Room for Debate: Motherhood vs. Feminism and I just want to go curl up with a good book.

Luckily, I’ve learned through fiction that I am certainly not the only one who struggles with  mother-daughter relationships and the idea of motherhood. Here are some of my favorite novels that tackle this subject important subject.

Fingerprints of You by Kristen-Paige Madonia 

This is a really fabulously written and understated novel about Lemon, a girl whose mother might not always have everything together, but still loves her daughter. Even though the story is about Lemon going in search of her father, it was how Lemon’s relationship with her mother changed that really touched me. You can read my review here.

While I’m Falling by Laura Moriarty

I read this a few weeks ago and I still find myself thinking of it often. For me, growing up meant learning that my mother wasn’t perfect and didn’t have it all together, and that is the same conclusion that the daughter in this book discovers. You can read my review here. I’m also a big fan of Laura Moriarty’s The Center of Everything, which also focuses on a mother-daughter relationship.

Out of the Easy by Ruta Septys

I loved this book because it was so messy and complicated. While most YA novels have happy endings, there is no redemption for the mother, no happy ending. Even though it doesn’t tie up a moral into a neat bow, it’s uplifting to see Josie create her own family and survive without maternal love. You can read my review here.

The Reece Malcolm List by Amy Spalding

This novel wasn’t a big hit with me, but I did really dig the mother-daughter relationship. It’s balanced. It’s complicated. It’s realistic. There aren’t enough young adult novels that focus on relationships with family and parents, and even though I still had some issues with this novel, I do recommend it to certain types of readers. You can read my review here.

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What are your favorite books about mother-daughter relationships? 

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3 thoughts on “Feminist Fridays: On Mothers and Motherhood in Life and Fiction

  1. Great great topic! Have you read Love and Other Perishable Items? This is a huge theme in that book… although you wouldn’t know it from many of the reviews out there. I actually loved this part of the book above all.

  2. I find myself turning into my mother with each passing year (we also happen to look alike). There are aspects of the way she and my father raised me that I’ve incorporated into my own parenting style, but there are differences, too. In the fiction I read and also in real life, I find mothers are often blamed for how their children turn out, as though there are no other influences in life. That annoys me.

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