Let's celebrate literary moms

Moms! Moms are great. Mother figures are great – grandmas, aunts, step-moms, sisters. Since Mother’s Day is around the corner, I thought it would be fun to highlight some great literary mothers (the good, the bad and the occasionally ugly). My list represents the mothers in novels I love. Do you have any particular favorites? Please share your favorite moms in the comments.

Molly Weasley (Harry Potter series)

By J. K. Rowling

Molly Weasley might be my favorite mom in fiction. She is Harry’s only maternal figure, and for how horrible the Dursleys are, she is equally wonderful. With seven (count them - seven!) children of her own, plus Harry and Hermione as eight and nine, Mrs. Weasley has her hands full. Money is tight, space is short, but her ability to love her family is unending. 

Mrs. Bennet (Pride and Prejudice)

By Jane Austen

Ok, so Mrs. Bennet is, perhaps, the worst parent in her country neighborhood. She is shamelessly obvious in her match making, horribly inept in social circumstances, and prone to dramatizing her nerves to take advantage of her family. Still she worms her way into my heart because of how she genuinely cares about her daughters’ prospects in a world that doesn’t allow them many options.  

Rosa Hubbard (The Book Thief)

By Markus Zusak

I have mixed feelings about Rosa. She initially comes off as slightly abusive to our heroin Liesel with her spoon and foul language. Yet as I got further into the book I became inexplicably fond of this abrasive character – she shows a rough kind of kindness, a subtle love for her husband, and has taken in an orphan during a time when life was anything but easy in Nazi Germany. What did you think?

The Other Mother (Coraline)

By Neil Gaiman

Creepy, evil, and just plain scary are the descriptors that come to mind for Coraline’s other mother in Neil Gaiman’s lauded novel. She seems to want Coraline to stay in her twisted version of reality, and will do whatever it takes to replace Coraline’s eyes with buttons. In the true tradition of false mothers, the other mother takes her place next to the evil queen from Snow White and the step mother from Cinderella in the way she attempts to take advantage of her daughter. 

Mrs. Frisby (Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh)

By Robert C. O’Brien

When I think about mothers as heroes, Mrs. Frisby comes immediately to mind. She is a humble country mouse trying to survive day to day difficulties who suddenly loses her husband and finds herself struggling to keep her family safe. She undertakes a journey to save her son and faces untold obstacles and strange characters, horror and wonder both. As far as moms go, Mrs. Frisby is truly wonderful.

Happy reading!