A tribute to mothers through film and literature
We wish the very best on this day to all grandmothers, mothers and
mothers-to-be. The Newport Beach Public Library would like to pay
tribute to all of you who undertake the world’s most important and
demanding job by letting you know about the terrific material at your
Of course, the library has books and videos on parenting skills
and childhood development. But Mother’s Day is supposed to be a fun
day, so we suggest you set back and relax with a good book or a movie
that explores the nature of motherhood -- the good days and the bad
days, the ups and downs.
Alice Hoffman’s “The Probable Future” is a suspenseful but sweet
and mystical story of a young woman and her mother and grandmother
who confront the strange legacy they have inherited through the
generations. “The Mammoth Cheese,” by Sheri Holman, is satire of the
most eccentric proportions. A small town produces a 1,235-pound
cheese in celebration of the birth of 11 babies after a local couple
undergo spectacularly successful fertility treatments.
If your tastes run to the more conventional type of story,
Elizabeth Strout’s “Amy and Isabelle” paints a nuanced portrait of
the mother-daughter relationship, as does Amy Tan’s “The Bonesetters
Daughter” which limns the age-old struggle in a cross-cultural
birth-mothers is a favorite theme of novelists. The witty and
affectionate “Then She Found Me,” by Elinor Lipman, tells of quiet
April Epner whose life is invaded by the tacky, talk-show hostess
mother she never knew. In contrast, Maeve Binchy’s gentle, haunting
“The Glass Lake” covers similar ground when an Irish teenager’s
mother (who supposedly drowned), shows up pretending to be her
mother’s old friend.
True-life mothers grab our attention too. Conservative political
consultant Mary Matlin has written a new book. Affectionate and
advice-filled, “Letters to My Daughters” provides loving guidance to
her two preteen girls.
Not enough time in the schedule for a good read? How about a good
movie? Hollywood has been both cruel and kind to mothers through the
years. From “I Remember Mama” to “White Oleander,” mothers and
grandmothers have been made endearing, poignant, lovable and
laughable. The Bubbie in the utterly charming “Crossing Delancey” is
the wise and all-knowing matriarch, while Ruth Gordon’s demented
mother in “Where’s Poppa?” must go into a home forthwith. Marmee in
“Little Women” is the quintessential portrait of Victorian motherhood
while Aurora Greenway in “Terms of Endearment” is her modern
opposite, yet each does the right thing by her children.
Humorous and touching, sentimental and insightful, there are movie
moms and grand-moms of all persuasions. “Parenthood,” “Freaky
Friday,” “Secrets and Lies,” and “All About My Mother” all depict
mothers shining through their worst possible situations. Albert
Brooks’ “Mother” and the classic “Gypsy” show us the other side of
motherhood and make us so grateful for the wonderful mothers we know.
* CHECK IT OUT is written by the staff of the Newport Beach Public
Library. This week’s column is by Sara Barnicle and Debra Walker. All
titles may be reserved from home or office computers by accessing the
catalog at https://www.newport beachlibrary.org. For more information
about the library and its branches, please call (949) 717-3800, ext.
All the latest on Orange County from Orange County.
Get our free TimesOC newsletter.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Daily Pilot.