With Mother’s Day just around the corner, there are sons and daughters everywhere wracking their brains to come up with the ultimate gift. While a bottle of wine and box of chocolates may be a great instant hit, giving your loving mother a piece of literature that she can enjoy for years to come is an unbeatable and classic present; plus it doesn’t break the bank. However, with so many great stories on offer, it can be hard to choose the perfect book. Fortunately, we’ve compiled a list of five that delicately handle the beloved mother/child relationship and will remind your mom just how much you mean to each other.
The Joy Luck Club By Amy Tan
Amy Tan is a writer who commonly explores mother/daughter relationships through her Chinese heritage and culture. Her debut novel follows the life of Chinese American immigrant families in San Francisco. As the Americanized children begin to grow, their mothers ponder identity and what it means to be separated by culture. Until one day, the death of group leader, Suyuan Woo, forces her daughter to come to terms with her forgotten heritage and fly to China to meet with long lost family to tell them all about the mother she realizes she never really knew.
Handle With Care By Jodi Picoult
Like the ground- and heart-breaking My Sister’s Keeper, Picoult’s 2009 release, Handle With Care, is another tear-jerking story of a mother, and the increasingly difficult choices she has to make for her extremely sick child. Willow, the daughter of Charlotte, suffers from severe osteogenesis imperfect, meaning a lifetime of painful accidents and traumatic treatments. Struggling to cover Willow’s medical expenses, Charlotte has to make a controversial decision that will tear apart friendships, ensue huge court costs and, worst of all, break the heart of her precious daughter.
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Transport yourself halfway around the world and find another doting mother, faced with hard choices, heartbreak and unfathomable stress. Hosseini’s second novel, after his best selling debut Kite Runner, looks at women growing up in Afghanistan and the pressures they face. The first half follows the story of a girl, Miriam, who is the illegitimate daughter of a wealthy businessman who had an affair with her lowly villager mother. Rejected and alone, mother and daughter do the best they can to survive out of wedlock or the protection of a family. However, things take a drastic turn for the worse, and Miriam’s life is transported far away from her humble village beginnings.
The Great Mother by Erich Neumann
This philosophical analyses aims to express what we associate with the idea of “the Great Mother.” It tracks the idea of the feminine right back to prehistoric man and the cave paintings on the wall, before moving forward in time and following how this idea has developed through mythology and monotheistic religion. Alongside this, it explores how living within a patriarchal society has affected what womanhood means and how it is perceived. Neumann himself was a student of Carl Jung and has an in depth psychological and philosophical background, so his take on the topic is truly fascinating. Although not a novel, it’s the perfect gift to help your mother understand the true depth, beauty and history of her place in the universe!
Beloved by Toni Morrison
This heartbreaking tale looks at what happens when the supernatural is brought into a classic mother/daughter story. It follows the protagonist, Sethe, who is forced to make a terrible, terrible decision. She kills her young daughter rather than forcing her to face a torturous life of slavery. However, years later, an unexpected visitor suggests that maybe the relationship is not over. Perhaps the ghost of the murdered child is not yet finished with this earth? It shines a harrowing light on post-Civil War America and is a truly a gripping tale from cover to cover. The book was the 1987 Pulitzer Prize winner and is known, worldwide, as a true classic.
Any of these books would make an ideal present for your mother this year, and there are so many more epic novels that we haven’t even mentioned. If you know of another story that should be on the list, or have a different great idea for the ideal Mother’s Day gift, then be sure to leave a comment below!