More book recommendations for people who find Mother’s Day hard
Mother’s Day is just around the corner and while some families are planning things such as a special breakfast, a thoughtful gift or a day out, for others, Mother’s Day can be a challenging time.
In the past few years we’ve put together a post of reading recommendations for people who, for whatever reason, may find this day a difficult one. You can view the original post here and our updated recommendations last year here. We’ve also included additional suggestions below.
For those who are grieving…
- In What Dementia Teaches Us About Love, Nicci Gerrard takes us through many stories – both sad and optimistic – of people with dementia, and the people who love them. If you have a loved one afflicted by dementia, this book will ring true and profound.
- When Death Takes Something From You, Give It Back is about losing a child and formulating a vocabulary to express the deepest kind of pain, about finding a way to write about a reality invaded by grief, lessened by loss. Families who have suffered loss, or who will pass through the holiday feeling the profound lack of a loved one, will find something to treasure in Aidt’s writing.
For those with postnatal depression…
- In Dear Scarlet: The Story of My Postpartum Depression, a woman illustrates her struggle with postpartum depression in the form of a letter to her daughter. Dear Scarlet is the tender reassurance you need that you are not alone.
- Megan Blandford spent years screaming, ‘I’m fine.’ Spoiler alert: she wasn’t. I’m Fine (and Other Lies): Postnatal Depression, Motherhood, and Trying to Actually Be Fine is her touching true story. Motherhood, mental health and the relationship between a new mother and her baby are all explored deftly.
For those who have difficult relationships with their mothers…
- All children of gifted mothers will find companionship in Alison Bechdel’s quest for answers regarding the mother-daughter gulf in her graphic memoir Are You My Mother?.
- Stella Prize 2019 winner Vicki Laveau-Harvie’s The Erratics is a memoir of a dysfunctional family and a mother-daughter relationship like no other. Providing a delicate excavation of complicated parent-child power dynamics, The Erratics will be sure to strike a chord.
- When she was four, Amra Pajalic realised her mother, while loving and kind, was different. Fatima would sometimes hear voices telling her to do strange things. At fifteen, Amra finally learnt the name of the illness that dogged her mother: bipolar disorder. Things Nobody Knows But Me is their story; a meditation on the nuances between an absent mother and a child left behind.
For those interested in aspects of motherhood that are less talked about…
- Acclaimed filmmaker Jocelyn Moorhouse has had a successful career as screenwriter and director, as well as mothering four children, two of whom have autism. Unconditional Love: A Memoir of Filmmaking and Motherhood is a moving, poignant memoir of the relationship between motherhood and art.
- How to reconcile being a writer with being a mother? French writer Marie Darrieussecq explores this and more in The Baby, a deeply personal cultural study of the pressures women face as mothers written in the months after the birth of Darrieussecq’s first child.
- When historian Sarah Knott became pregnant, she looked for the history of pregnancy and motherhood, only to find that one did not exist. She found that much to do with becoming a mother – past, present and future – had been lost. Her new book, Mother: An Unconventional History, is that history.
For when things are just complicated…
- If you work hard enough, if you want it enough, if you’re smart and talented and good enough, you can do anything. Except get pregnant. Kid Gloves: Nine Months of Careful Chaos follows Lucy Knisley’s transition into motherhood after a path filled with fertility complications and trials. If you have had difficulty conceiving, or know someone who has, this graphic novel is both a witty and wise rumination on that experience.
- In The Full Catastrophe, well-known Australians from all walks of life share their stories of when sh*t hit the fan – literally and figuratively. No matter what is happening in your life, these stories – a form of collective therapy – will remind you that yes, this too will pass.
- Melina Marchetta turns to contemporary adult fiction in her new novel The Place on Dalhousie. She ponders the complicated relationship between stepmothers and the adult children they have inherited in what is an unforgettable story about the nature of belonging.
- In the tradition of Helen Garner, Peggy Frew’s Islands is a riveting portrait of a family in crisis – exploring the dynamic of a missing daughter and the mother who waits three days to report her disappearance.