My Five Favorite Literary “Mothers”
1) Anonymous, Loverboy. The anonymous narrator of this haunting debut novel LOVES her son so intently that she raises questions for the reader about the line between devotion and obsession, and whether we can love someone too much. Intense. Claustrophobic. Unforgettable.
2) Lila Wingo, The Prince of Tides. Talk about haunting. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: how can a book with such exquisite writing center around such a horrific event? Status-driven Lila is the enforcer of the Wingo’s terrible family secret even when it’s literally killing her children.
3) Daisy Buchanan, The Great Gatsby. You forgot Daisy was a mother, didn’t you? My point exactly. I just read a piece on Slate defending Daisy and while I love The Great Gatsby and all of its characters I respectfully disagree. Daisy is arguably selfish and superficial but she’s unarguably dishonest, unfaithful, disloyal–and unlikely to win mother of the year.
4) Miss Havisham, Great Expectations. One of the greatest characters in literature in my humble opinion. Left at the altar Miss Havisham remains in her wedding dress with the clocks frozen at the moment of her betrayal. She remains isolated in her decaying mansion until she adopts a daughter, a young orphan who she ends up using to enact revenge on men.
5) Charlie Marie Moore Karr, The Liar’s Club. One of my all time favorite books. It’s cheating a little to name Charlie since this is a memoir and she’s a real person, but this is beautifully crafted storytelling and Charlie is definitely a character… a nervous and unstable alcoholic who raised one helluva writer.