Mothers have been on my mind this month… it didn’t start with Mother’s day though. As a book blogger I participate in a popular meme where predetermined prompts gather the thoughts of the (mainly YA genre) book community every week. This month we were asked what we wanted to see more of in the books we read. A very popular answer was more present and aware parents with positive roles in their children’s lives. My mother was #1 in my life growing up and we are very close still today. She didn’t keep me from making mistakes but she was bedrock to my making wise decisions even after I mess up. Recently she helped me with a list of the best mystery detective series and you can check the list here.
I started to wonder about mothers and how media like books, movies, and television are portraying them. Do we really have a deficient number of mothers doing their best and succeeding? Being more aware of mothers this month I performed a little experiment. I didn’t search out lists to find these but looked at the media I was consuming or had recently consumed and not thought about the mother’s effect on the protagonists’ life. I found many books where a mother’s loss was front and center to motivations but I was truly surprised by how many mothers out there go about living quietly and without fanfare.
Animation Movie… Ponyo
Brunhilde (Ponyo) and Sōsuke’s mothers make a deal so their children can be happy. This was actually an incredible view of motherhood from two different perspectives. One mother is sacrificing her relationship with her daughter for another. And the other is agreeing to become the mother of that girl.
Chinese Television… Bromance
Du Zi Feng and his mother lost the most important person to them… his father. The worst was that he didn’t die but was lost and didn’t return. As Zi Feng and Ya Nuo fall in love his mother is greatly worried about who this man/woman is and will he/she be the center of her son’s world like his father was for her. I’d say more but too many spoilers!
Middle Grade Book… The Girl Who Drank the Moon
Xan and Luna’s story is an homage to mothers everywhere, both to those women who adopt children, those who give up their children and those who fight to defend the future of their own children. The crazy woman in the tower so inspiring - its never to late to be a good mother.
Mafuyu is a delinquent and so her mother sends her away to a school in the country to mend her ways. Mafuyu does her best to follow her mother’s desires for her but is a little too much her mother’s daughter… we don’t see Mafuyu’s mother often but when you do you know right away why Mafuyu is a force to be reckoned with!
Adult Movie… Terminator
Sarah Conner didn’t actually know she was a mother before she became what is now the common stereotype of a strong woman. We see her having to make major judgment calls before she even totally understands the consequences. What a testament to how John felt about his mother.
Korean Television… Secret Garden
Moon Boon-hong is a chaebol mother to her son and heir Kim Joo-won; she’s a cold woman who opposes her son’s choice of wife. Sometimes mothers aren’t supporting us so much as being the force that propels us to make good decisions… even though the end leaves her acceptance up to us to decide it left me with the hope that one day she’d soften due to her grandsons.
Adult Book… My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry
Elsa’s best friend and grandmother dies when she’s 8 years old. Granny and her mum disagreed on a range of subjects and Elsa and her mum aren’t much different. As she mourns her Granny through the series of letters she delivers we see that mothers and daughters will always have common ground.
I love the different media types out there from books of all genres to movies and television. They do a decent job covering mothers… but did you notice one sub-genre I wasn’t able to find a significant alive mother? Seeing as how I read mainly YA books I should have been able to write this post about mothers in the young adult genre, but such was not the case…
Publishers and authors, we do need more books with positive mother role models! They don’t have to be perfect women but loving ones that do the best they can without fanfare and succeed in having an effect on their children… and through them on the reader.