I have good news and I have bad news. Which one do you want first? The bad news you say? Okay. Well read this post from top to bottom as it is written. If you want to read the good news first then scroll down to section 2. Some people just need to hear and celebrate the good stuff before they can deal with bad news and that’s okay. I planned for that.
Today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is to mention mothers in books and I decided to switch things up to chat about some of the worst moms (Bad News Momma-be-s aka Section 1) and some of the best moms (Good News Moms aka Section 2) that I’ve read since 2017.
(Read this if you want the bad news first)
1. Here Comes the Sun is set in Jamaica and you can click here to watch my review of the book. Suffice it to say the mother in this one laid some heavy burdens on her kids and pushed them to become all kinds of things to overcome some challenges that she herself created for them. She earns the title of Bad News Momma-be (a bad wanna-be Mom)
2. To talk too much about the mother in Nicola Yoon’s Everything, Everything is to spoil the story for you but let’s just say this woman is terrible enough to be a Bad News Momma-be…
3. ..but she’s not as bad as the mother Gillian Flynn created in Sharp Objects. Her actions are heinous and egregious and the word mother shouldn’t even be written anywhere close to her name. To tell you more would be to spoil the story for you but I encourage you to read about this Bad News Momma-be for yourself
4. Sethe in Toni Morrison’s Beloved is a terrible mother. Yes, she was a former slave and yes, she felt like she was backed up in a corner but what she did to her children is unforgivable and she deserved everything she had coming to her in the latter parts of the book.
5. In Colm Toibin’s The Testament of Mary, the mother of Jesus refutes the argument that Jesus is the son of God. Instead, she casts doubt on the story of his miracles and resents the attention given to her after Jesus’ death. Even if he was just a man, it shouldn’t be your mom who rats you out to the world, right? This failure to stand by her son earns her the Bad News Momma-be title as far as I’m concerned.
6. Technically, Eleanor’s mother in Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park doesn’t hurt her daughter but she sure doesn’t do anything to protect her child being abused which makes her totally deserving of the Bad News Momma-be title too.
7. There are not 1, not 2 but 3 mother figures in Helen Oyeyemi’s magical realism novel, Boy, Snow, Bird and while they are all very different characters, all of them are evil – evil mothers, evil stepmothers, evil women in general. They all deserve to be called Bad News Momma-be’s.
8. Gran in The Roanoke Girls is technically the grandmother but she was the mother-figure for all the girls who came into her household which makes her responsible for everything they experienced. She is a terrible person and a total Bad News Momma-be
Now that you’ve heard the bad news, it’s time to flip things and talk about some great moms, some of the maternal characters who make single ladies like me want to be moms, who remind us of our own moms and make us weep at the memory of their sacrifices and dream of the day we can be great momma-be’s for our future children.
(Skip here if you want the good news first)
- The first Good News Momma-be title goes to Mrs. Traynor, Will’s mom in Me Before You. No matter what else you could say about her, she’s the one who hires the unqualified Lou to be a companion for her son because although he is going through the challenge of his life and might be able to justify his abject depression, she will stop at nothing to help him find a new lease on life.
- Another Good News Momma-be is Oscar’s mom in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. She keeps a tight rein on her son while giving him what he thinks is freedom to explore the clues to uncover secrets about his deceased father. She’s so good at letting him mourn in his own way and arranging things in his life while standing in the shadows that Oscar thinks he’s independent and gifted. Isn’t that what good mothers do!
- Liesl’s adopted mother in The Book Thief might come off gruff and scary and unemotional but she’s exactly the character that the family needs and she’s supportive when it counts. For that, she deserves her own Good News Momma-be award.
- The mom in Jandy Nelson’s I’ll Give You the Sun starts off being cooky and loopy but by the end of the novel, even after it’s revealed that she’s made some terrible and selfish choices, when you learn what she did for her children, you can’t help but call her a Good News Momma-be.
Thankfully, both these kinds of mother representations exist in literature – the good ones who give us things to rant about and the bad ones who make us thankful we don’t inhabit these fictional worlds but that instead we have our own beautiful mothers in our real lives.
It’s Day 7. Last week, I announced my virtual running partnership with Tarnished Soul. Our overall objective is to get back to regular outdoor running in a bid to improve health and fitness. Each day, I will post the planned workout and update it when we’ve completed the workout. If you’d like to join us, feel free to comment below and let me know to add you to the daily tracker.
Today’s goal is to run / run-walk for a little longer and a little faster than yesterday workout. Any improvement in distance and pace will be considered as mission accomplished but I plan to run 1.8 miles or more. Come back later for the update.
Day 7 Update: I ran 1.89 miles. It was hard but it feels good, especially when it’s over.