Wednesday, October 17, 2012

books as therapy

The first book I read by Elizabeth Berg was Open House.  I was so taken aback by the raw honesty of a woman torn apart by her husband's infidelity.

The next Berg novel I picked up was Durable Goods, about a young adolescent army brat who lives with her older sister and their widowed father.  I loved this one, too.

Soon after, I went searching for more Berg titles. Lucky me when I discovered Durable Goods was the first of a trilogy (it would have been just a teeny bit ruined if I had started with the second or third in the series). Joy School and True to Form are the two sequels. I soaked up these two as well.

In doing my clinical work I occasionally encounter clients whose mothers died when they were young.  It's one of the toughest losses to address. For the client, of course, yes.  And for me on a personal level. Not because I lost my mother, thankfully.  But just the mere act of contemplating what a loss of this magnitude means.

I've had a couple recent medical scares (barely) where I several times laid in bed at night thinking about what it would be like for my kids if something were to happen to me.  It was blinding.  I couldn't hold the thought.  I had brief images of sitting in my bed making a video recording of all the things I think my kids, especially my daughters, need to hear from me when they're old enough to hear it (saw this on television somewhere).  My chest would collapse under the weight and my mind would immediately change the subject.

But back to the books.  Right now I'm looking for other novels where the heroine of the story has lost her mother.  Where we see elements daughters processing what it means to grow up without a mother.  Jane Eyre immediately comes to mind but other than the opening chapters we don't hear much in the way of how Jane feels the loss of her mother, per se.  Or am I forgetting?

Any book suggestions, readers?


Mrs. G. said...

I enjoyed a mother/daughter memoir recently called "Riding Fury Home" by Chana Wilson.

Martin Willoughby said...

Harry Potter?

There are times when I think about what would happen if I die before my kids reach adulthood. Frightening.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

It's non-fiction, but Cheryl Strayed's Wild.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Of course "The Joy Luck Club" springs to mind... That Elizabeth Berg, she has such a gift.

Anonymous said...

Tell you about my mother? Now that my own child is pretty much grown, I wonder more and more when my mother will finally grow up.

As to books about losing a mother, right now I'm reading Shelter by Frances Greenslade. Maggie and Jenny first lose their father to a logging accident and then are abandoned by their mother.


Aunt Snow said...

I immediately thought of the classics - Frances Hodgson Burnett, "The Secret Garden" and "A Little Princess." In the first the heroine is an orphan and the hero has lost his mother - and has been blamed for the lost of the mother. In the second, the heroine is orphaned twice.

Carrie Burtt said...

I agree books are therapy as are many things....and books can speak different things to different people according to the struggles they are facing at the time. Love your blog! :-)

(I will tell you about my mother when we have more time) lol :-)

Jocelyn said...

I have loved Elizabeth Berg much as you have, it seems. That's lovely.

There's a mother death in WUTHERING HEIGHTS, and of course Oliver Twist's mum is dead. Snow White's mother is gone. In Wilder's OUR TOWN, Emily dies giving birth.

Strangely, I feel like there are about 100 more books I've read where the mother is gone, but the titles elude me. Well, there's ISLAND OF THE BLUE DOLPHINS, where the girl is all alone, after all her people leave her.