Friday, January 13, 2012

Literary Moms

When I did the post on my Favorite Sibling Stories months ago, it occurred to me that I should at some point tackle literary parents. The thought was rather daunting though as in Middle Grade and Young Adult novels, particularly the fantasy ones I mostly read, they are largely absent. My own wonderful Mom has a birthday coming up next week and as I was thinking about all that there is to celebrate about her and how great a mother she is, I was reminded of this again. For me personally moms in books don't impress me as much because they come nowhere close to being as great as the one I have. (It is the same for dads, I was well and truly blessed with both my parents, but I will tackle the dads in the next favorite things post.) There are some that do stand out and pop into my mind right away as I sat down to think about it.

Molly Weasley
She is in no way a perfect mother, but no mother is. (Being a mother drives this point home remarkably well.) This is part of why I like Molly so much. She is very real. Stressed, scattered, often short tempered, but she wants what is best for her children and shows clearly that she loves them. And she did a tremendously good job raising them. She had seven kids and in the end every single one of them chooses to stand up and do what is right even when in it means risking everything.

Mrs. Murry
Another mother who had to deal with massive amounts of stress while raising not exactly the easiest kids in the world. And she had to do it for some time without the help of her husband and the added burden of wondering what had happened to him. Even though she is not present for much of her children's stories, her impact is very much there. This year marks the 50th Anniversary of A Wrinkle in Time so it is a great time to reread it and rediscover how great a job she did raising such intrepid heroes.

The Dowager Duchess of Denver
Peter is all well and good as a literary crush. He is certainly one of mine.But can you imagine being the woman who had to raise him? Not to mention his obnoxious older brother and flighty sister. If she were real, the woman would deserve a medal. And she managed to keep her sense of humor about her at the same time. Her husband wasn't exactly helpful either. Yes, she was a Duchess so had nannies and the like to help her but it is clear from the books that she very much loves her children and was interested in their lives. Particularly Peter's as his is the focus of the books, but they show she loves and is interested in her other children as well. Some of my favorite parts of the Lord Peter series are the parts she is in and I absolutely adore all her journal entries included at the beginning of Gaudy Night.

And really that's all I've got. This is a sad short little list. Some others come to mind as good examples, but they never had much of an impact on me personally so I can't include them in a list of favorites. What about you, are there any you would add?


  1. Oh my goodness! As soon as I saw your title, Mrs Murry and Mrs Weasley popped into mind. And, great point about Lord Peter's mom. No kidding. Others I might add would be .... hmm... so many of my favorite stories have an absent mum figure. I like Cassie's mom in Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry. I like Dottie in 100 Cupboards. There must be more we're missing. I think the favorite dads post might be an easier one to write....

    1. Dotty was one I thought of. Yes, she's a good mother but she never really impacted me as a character much so I didn't include her.

      It has been so long since I read Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry. It really needs a reread.

  2. I love this list! You're right, Brandy, there aren't a lot of great moms in fiction. I do love that you chose to highlight both Mrs. Weasley and Mrs. Murry because I think they're both amazing. I still haven't read any Lord Peter books but promise, I'll read Strong Poison within the year!

    As to others that could be added to the list, what about Marmee from Little Women? And Sorcha in the Sevenwaters series by Juliet Marillier when she becomes a mom in the second book.

    1. Marmee is another on of those that I thought of but she made too little an impression on me.

      Hmmm...I bet Sorcha would be a good mother, but I've only read the first book.

      Thanks for the input!

  3. It looks like my comment from the other day didn't post after all. Hmm... I was checking your blog just to add Marmee! Others I mentioned in my second comment were Mrs. Sowersby (Secret Garden), and... can't remember now. Hmm... Wish my other comment had posted.

  4. Oh, I remember. Mrs. Pepper from Five Little Peppers--she's one of those characters whose "aura" I sort of absorbed as a kid and now find myself trying to "be" like her. Also, Mrs. Ingalls--man, that woman was amazing... when you read between the lines as an adult, Little House on the Prairie was a TOUGH life!

    1. Mrs. Sowersby is a good one!

      I think Marmee and Mrs. Ingalls come across as just too perfect to me. Maybe that's why I have never loved them?

      I am curious as to what happened to your other comment.