I had plans of doing a great big long post on "Great and Memorable Moms in Literature", but after perusing my shelves for some time I was a bit surprised to realize that I don't actually have a ton of books containing something suitable for this topic. Isn't that a bit depressing? There are of course moms in literature who are memorable for all the wrong reasons - think the crazy mom in Stephen King's Carrie or the self-absorbed mom-poet in Augusten Burroughs' memoir Running with Scissors. But what about simply strong, noble moms doing strong, noble-mom things?
Thankfully, Canadian Literature was able to provide me with at least a few examples. One of my favourite moms in literature is Reta Winters from Carol Shields' exquisite novel Unless. Here's a story of a woman who sees her happy and carefully balanced middle-class life upended when one of her daughters decides to live on a Toronto street corner with a handwritten sign around her neck that reads "GOODNESS", and of how Reta meets that challenge with poise and strength. Margaret Laurence was able to create at least two memorable moms in her work: Morag Gunn, from The Diviners, who struggles to balance the writing life with the obligations of parenthood, and Hagar Shipley from The Stone Angel, who is, well, Hagar Shipley. I also love the caustic, no-nonsense mom that Wayne Johnston creates for his fictionalized Joey Smallwood in The Colony of Unrequited Dreams. And of course we cannot forget Alice Munro, who has created countless amazing moms doing countless amazing mom things, both large and small, in many of her short stories.
But I feel like I'm missing a whole slew of other great moms in literature. Surely there are more, and outside of Canadian Literature? So I'll throw it out to you: who are your favourite moms in literature? What moms from books really stick out for you? Leave a comment below.