Hey, are you a mom? (If you clicked on this story, probably.) If so, we highly recommend reading one of the following seven books. Some are funny, some are devastating (but still required reading) and all are related to the crazy, up-and-down and hopefully rewarding experience of having children.
Operating Instructions by Anne Lamott
Lamott (Hallelujah Anyway) was 35 and single when she had her son in 1989. From finding out that baby is a boy to finding out that her support system, her best friend, Pam, had cancer, she chronicles—with candor and self-deprecating humor—her first year as a mom and the friends, neighbors and strangers who helped her survive those challenging 12 months.
Bossypants by Tina Fey
Mother or not, Fey’s 2013 memoir is an absolute delight. It covers a lot of things (from growing up a nerd to unrealistic beauty expectations), but moms in particular will delight in Fey’s frankness surrounding motherhood—including a particularly hilarious take on breastfeeding.
A Life's Work by Rachel Cusk
Motherhood is a lot of things: Common, mysterious, bizarre, compelling and comedic. Touching and funny, Cusk’s account of a year of modern motherhood is a farewell to freedom and sleep, a lesson in humility and a sentimental education in babies, parenting books, bad advice, breastfeeding and never being alone.
The Lost Daughter by Elena Ferrante
Leda is a middle-aged mother of two grown daughters. After they move overseas to be with their father, she’s forced to grapple with past damage (both suffered and inflicted by her) and devastating maternal ambivalence. In true Ferrante fashion, it sucks you in from the very first page.
What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
Twenty-nine-year-old Alice is crazy about her husband and pregnant with her first child. Then, she comes to on the floor of a gym and is taken to the hospital, where she discovers the honeymoon is truly over—she’s getting divorced, she has three kids, and she’s actually 39. Forced to reconstruct the events of a lost decade, she discovers whether forgetting is a blessing or a curse, and whether it’s possible to start over.
Beloved by Toni Morrison
At its core, Beloved is about the bond between a mother and her children. Inspired by a true story, this haunting novel follows Sethe and her daughter Denver after they escape from slavery and run to Ohio. It’s tough to read twice, but once is mandatory.
Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
Bernadette Fox is talented, hilarious and a little unhinged. A reclusive architect, opinionated partner and loving mother, she goes missing before a family trip. As her daughter tries to find her, she compiles a funny and touching portrait of a woman who is misunderstood and unfairly maligned.