These 6 moving books about mothers and sons explore the bond between parent and child.
1. To the End of the Land by David Grossman
“Ora, a middle-aged Israeli mother, is about to celebrate her son Ofer’s release from army service when he returns to the front for a major offensive. Instead of waiting at home for the ‘notifiers’ who could arrive at any moment to tell her of her son’s fate, she sets off for a hike in Galilee, leaving no forwarding address. If a mother is not there to receive the news, a son cannot die, can he?”
2. Room: A Novel by Emma Donoghue
“Jack lives with his Ma in Room. Room has a single locked door and a skylight, and it measures ten feet by ten feet. Jack loves watching TV but he knows that nothing he sees on the screen is truly real – only him, Ma and the things in Room. Until the day Ma admits there is a world outside.”
3. The Sun King by Allison Lee Palmer
“A mother, her son, and mania. In this fictionalized memoir, a mother recounts the emotional journey she and her son take when he becomes mentally ill. Jack is known as the Sun King because as a child he resembled the illustrated boy in his mother’s deck of tarot cards. Already on the verge of madness, Jack leaves for college in Ohio but secretly decides not to take his medicine. When Jack becomes manic, his mother must retrieve him from a psychiatric hospital and bring him home to Oklahoma. She and Jack spend the next year dealing with court hearings, doctor appointments, and counseling sessions precipitated by his bipolar disorder and resultant psychosis. Guiding Jack back to sanity leads his mother to a fateful decision—one that brings about her own emotional unraveling. In the end, it is the Sun King who must save his mother.”
4. The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe
“Mary Anne Schwalbe is waiting for her chemotherapy treatments when Will casually asks her what she’s reading… A profoundly moving testament to the power of love between a child and parent, and the power of reading in our lives.”
5. We Need to Talk about Kevin by Lionel Shriver
“Eva never really wanted to be a mother; certainly not the mother of the unlovable boy who murdered seven of his fellow high school students, a cafeteria worker and a teacher who tried to befriend him. Now, two years later, it is time for her to come to terms with marriage, career, family, parenthood and Kevin’s horrific rampage in a series of startlingly direct correspondences with her absent husband, Franklyn. Uneasy with the sacrifices and social demotion of motherhood from the start, Eva fears that her alarming dislike for her own son may be responsible for driving him so nihilistically off the rails.”
6. Mothers and Sons by Colm Toibin
“Each of the nine stories in this beautifully written, intensely intimate collection centers on a transformative moment that alters the delicate balance of power between mother and son, or changes the way they perceive one another. With exquisite grace and eloquence, Tóibín writes of men and women bound by convention, by unspoken emotions, by the stronghold of the past. Many are trapped in lives they would not choose again, if they ever chose at all.”
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