5 Books That Celebrate The Amazing Moms In Our Lives For Mother’s Day
Mom. Ma. Mama. Mommy Mother’s Day
Mom. Ma. Mother. Mama. Mommy. No matter how you say it, the role of mother is vast and all-encompassing. This year, while social distancing might result in a Mother’s Day unlike any other, there are ways to connect, thank, and honour the cheerleaders in our lives, such as a virtual call so she can see your face and hear your voice (all she really wants to know is that you’re okay), sending her an eCard so she can treat herself to something special, or buying her dinner and having it delivered (contactless, of course) so she doesn’t have to cook. Check out our venue partners and what they are offering for Mother’s Day here.
In honour of the women who love us fiercely, here are my top 5 Mother’s Day book picks:
5. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan (352 pages) – 4.5/5 Brookie Stars
For 40 years, four women met weekly to share stories and play mahjong at what they call The Joy Luck Club. Now, they gather in San Francisco to remember one of their own who has passed. The woman’s daughter, Jing-mei “June” Woo, takes her place at the meetings and learns both about the women’s pasts, and more shockingly, that her mother had to leave behind twin girls when she fled China in 1949. The three women, urge Jing-mei to travel to China and tell her sisters about their mother’s lives in the hope they appreciate their mother’s life, just as they hope their Americanized daughters will theirs.
The Joy Luck Club is about the choices and sacrifices mothers make for their families, always in their best interest, which are often overlooked or misinterpreted. It’s an honest, moving, courageous story of how women persevere, fight, and love with all they have… until they have nothing left.
4. Feeding My Mother: Comfort and Laughter in the Kitchen as My Mom Lives with Memory Loss by Jann Arden (208 pages) – 4/5 Brookie Stars
I’ve loved Jann Arden since she arrived on the Canadian music scene in the ‘90s… her blunt red hair, her dark lips, her combat boots… she was awesome. Fast-forward decades later and this successful singer-songwriter, not to mention hilarious talk show host and sitcom star, has become a published author. This touching tribute, also a #1 national bestseller, is based on Arden’s hugely popular Facebook posts and Instagram photos. It’s a funny and inspirational account of the transformation one goes through (from child to parent) when a parent is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
3. Listen to the Squawking Chicken: When Mother Knows Best, What’s a Daughter to Do? A Memoir (Sort Of) by Elaine Lui (256 pages) – 4/5 Brookie Stars
I became acquainted with Elaine Lui (i.e. Lainey) watching CTV’s The Social every day while on leave from work during my high-risk pregnancy. Being somewhat isolated at home, her and her castmates became a comforting mainstay; a way to stay on top of current events and enjoy an animated debate about the topics of the day.
Once my son arrived, so did my copy of this book. I read it whenever I could, which when you have a newborn means during 2 a.m. feedings or when they tire themselves out enough that you’re able to get 30 minutes of quiet. Just as she pulls no punches on the daytime talk show or her wildly successful blog, she does the same with her mom – AKA, the Squawking Chicken – sharing her unusual advice, warnings, and unwavering love that has guided Elaine throughout her life. In her own words, “She squawks like a chicken, she is totally nuts, and I am totally dependent on her.” This is a love letter to mothers everywhere.
2. Instant Mom by Nia Vardalos (288 pages) – 4.5/5 Brookie Stars
Ask anyone who’s been through infertility and they’ll tell you it takes its toll mentally, physically and emotionally. The caveat? Not many people talk about their journey openly because it’s still considered a taboo subject. But once those floodgates open, you’ll find a community ready and willing to cheer you on to make your dreams of parenthood come true. When my husband and I went through it, not only did I have support, I had this book.
I fell in love with Nia Vardalos during her My Big Fat Greek Wedding fame, so when I found out she and her husband had undergone 13 IVF attempts in the hopes to become parents, I needed to know more. Instant Mom is filled with hilarious and poignant observations about their bumpy road to parenthood and how, with just 14 hours’ notice, they adopted a preschooler. It will make you laugh and cry, while perfectly illustrating that whether via biology, relationship, or adoption, motherhood comes in many forms.
5. Untamed by Glennon Doyle (328 pages) – 5/5 stars Brookie Stars
If you’re lucky, sometimes you find a book that rips open your chest and breaks your heart, only to mend it back together again. This book does just that – and more. It’s an honest and raw portrayal of one woman’s mission to get back to her authentic self, long-buried by years of conditioning to be good and worthy. This striving, she says, leaves us feeling weary, stuck, overwhelmed and wondering, “Really, is this all there is?”
Glennon does not hold back; she shares her battle with bulimia and addictions, the untimely demise of her marriage, her eye-opening revelation that her soul mate was, in fact, a woman, and how to create a new version of family. She bares her heart and soul on her journey to wholeness and shares how we need to trust ourselves enough to set boundaries, make peace with our bodies, honour our anger and heartbreak, and unleash our truest, wildest instincts so we can become the brave women who can finally look at ourselves and say: There She Is.
I dare you to only read this once and not take notes while doing so.
Amazing Mom. Ma. Mama. Mommy. Mother
Here is to all you amazing moms out there; giving all you have, even when you have nothing left. The ones who worry, care, drive, drop off, pick up, offer up their last bite of cake, haven’t showered in three days, haven’t peed alone in five years, wipe away the tears and kiss the scraped knees, are having to deal with the first day of kindergarten or sending their kids off to university, driving to weekend-long dance competitions or early morning hockey practices. Whether motherhood was a surprise or an exhaustively planned event that required medical intervention.
I salute you, I honour you, and I am blessed to be one of you.
Beyoncé was wrong: girls don’t run the world, moms do.
Now go call yours, she worries.
Happy Mother’s Day!
Looking to connect virtually with an inspiring group of book lovers? Click here to check out upcoming BooknBrunch events.
Andrea Querido is a 40-ish book-loving, introverted word nerd who’s passionate about connection, self-care, personal growth, creating community and, of course, books!
Favourite book: To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Favourite brunch spot: Anywhere I don’t have to cook.