My mother sent me a one-line text the other night: “I saw Lady Bird.”
A little nervous and not sure what was being implied by her brevity, I immediately called for her take on the film that has been sweeping theaters around the country. Along with the varied themes on class, family, and teenage relationships, this story of a young woman’s coming-of-age seems to have struck a chord for its poignant, funny, and bittersweet depiction of a mother-daughter relationship. While fumbling with my phone I wondered if my own mother had the same reaction I did, that it somehow perfected the odd juxtaposition between parents and children, where you both know everything and nothing about one another, and it sometimes feels as though your whole life is spent evolving in relation to them.
It’s clear why this relationship is mined so often in storytelling, but rarely does a novel or film capture this intersection of individuality, utter dependency, and the indelibly sweet, complex love within families so well. Luckily, there are a few authors who have mastered just that.
Bernadette Fox is a fiercely independent wife and mother, when one day she disappears. It began when her daughter Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette's intensifying allergy to Seattle—and people in general—has made her agoraphobic, making a trip to the end of the earth a bit of an issue. To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, and secret correspondence.
George Hodgman’s humorous and moving memoir chronicles his struggles to care for his stubborn, aging mother Betty. Will he move her to assisted living? Will she accept that he is gay? Will they have the courage to say what is in their hearts?
Simultaneously mourning the death of his father and the demise of his marriage, Judd joins his dysfunctional family as they reluctantly sit shiva and spend seven days and nights under the same roof. This Is Where I Leave You is a humorous, emotional novel about the ties that bind—whether we like it or not.
In her first novel, Carrie Fisher drew on her own experiences in Hollywood and with addiction to tell the story of Suzanne Vale, a young actress in the harrowing and hilarious throes of drug rehabilitation. A semi-autobiographical novel, POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE chronicles Suzanne’s vivid, and often funny, experiences inside a drug rehab clinic and takes a revealing look at addiction.
This gorgeous and tenderly wrought story is about the ways in which love and beauty bind us together. As the stories of two new mothers unfold, a connection that they share drives the novel toward a tremendous revelation.