Good Minds Suggest—Jodi Picoult's Favorite Mother-Daughter Books

October, 2014
Jodi Picoult

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The author of 22 novels in 22 years, with an estimated 25 million books in print, Jodi Picoult is a publishing juggernaut. Readers find her bestsellers addictive not only for their page-turning excitement, but also for the disturbing and yet fascinating ethical questions they pose. The Princeton- and Harvard-educated writer has covered a wide range of sticky issues, such as the decision to keep a loved one on life support in Lone Wolf, the death penalty in Change of Heart, and a child suing for medical emancipation in My Sister's Keeper. Picoult strikes right at the emotion of each story, focusing on the relationships between parents and children. In her new book, Leaving Time, a daughter stubbornly investigates the disappearance of her mother, a scientist who specialized in studying grief in elephants. Picoult shares five of her favorite books that understand the loving and aggravating ties that bind mothers and daughters.

Anywhere But Here by Mona Simpson (Goodreads Author)
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"This novel was published the same year as my first book, and like my first book, detailed a mother-daughter relationship where neither the mother nor the daughter's motives were entirely aboveboard. Adele, a stage mom extraordinaire, is living vicariously through her talented daughter Ann, who thrives on her mother's daily doses of crazy but also secretly wishes for a normal life and an ordinary mom. The character portraits in this book leap off the page."


Then She Found Me by Elinor Lipman
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"Imagine being a quiet introvert who discovers that the mom who gave you up for adoption 30-plus years earlier is the world's most famous television talk show host. That's the tender, funny premise of this novel. As they begin to forge a relationship, a rocky gap is bridged as they find in each other a piece that was missing from their own personalities. I have long loved Elinor Lipman's books; this is one of my favorites."


Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight (Goodreads Author)
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"In a year when everyone was still talking about Gone Girl, I couldn't stop talking about this book. Kate, an overworked, overwhelmed mom who is trying to balance her job as a lawyer and her life as a parent, is called to the school to find out that her daughter has apparently jumped off the roof, committing suicide. The book hurtles toward a crazy conclusion as Kate pieces together details of her daughter's life that she didn't know."


Beloved by Toni Morrison
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"When I was at Princeton as an undergrad, I had the privilege of hearing Toni Morrison read from this book when it was a work in progress. The story of Sethe, a slave, and the baby she loved has never left me. The terrible and great acts we commit in the name of love are the heart of this amazing, shattering novel. This book is the very definition of the bond between mother and daughter."


Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum (Goodreads Author)
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"I remember reading this book, about a daughter's quest for the truth about her German mother's actions during WWII, and wondering how a first-time author could have done such a detailed, remarkable job. When Trudy begins to explore her family history, she winds up revising her entire sense of self—and of her mother. The book drives home the sacrifices we are willing to make for a child and the ultimate cost it takes for a parent to do so."





Comments (showing 1-21 of 21) (21 new)

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message 1: by Frank (new)

Frank Parker I dived into this thread because I am currently reading "The Rest of Her Life" by Laura Moriarty. Another book that deals with mother-daughter relationships. Highly recommended.


message 2: by Charlotte (new)

Charlotte Klein Thanks for the recommendation, Frank :) I'll be sure to add it to my reading list.


message 3: by Linda (new)

Linda Another good "mother, daughter" book is The Cottage at Glass Beach by Heather Barbieri. I loved this book.


message 4: by Sherezada (new)

Sherezada Torres Reconstructing Amelia was a great read.. Highly recommend


message 5: by Denise (new)

Denise Parsons I've always felt a magnetic pull toward mother-daughter stories. It is a main theme in my own novel. Thank you for introducing me to some new stories in this post and in the comments section.


message 6: by Kiri (new)

Kiri Other books I love about mothers and daughters: Pigs in Heaven by Barbara Kingsolver and The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan, both have been around a ling time but I can read them over and over.


message 7: by Renate (new)

Renate Krakauer I loved Those Who Save Us. None of my reading friends had ever heard of it before. It's sensitively written about a young German girl's courage during the Holocaust and the resulting secret that causes the alienation between her and her daughter in later life. I was thrilled to see that Jodi Picoult liked it as much as I did.


Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder* Finally a book on one of these lists that I've read - Those Who Save us is great once you get into it.


message 9: by Ceri (new)

Ceri Davies Cats eye by Margaret Atwood. It helped me understand the power of female friendships.


message 10: by Emily (new)

Emily Montgomery I have been trying to remember the name of the book where a woman was looking for her German grandmother and after reading this feed I finally found it! Those Who Save Us is an amazingly captivating book and I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone!


message 11: by Frank (new)

Frank Parker Emylia Hall's "Book of Summers" is another novel dealing with a mother>daughter relationship. I reviewed it here a few months ago.


message 12: by Karen (new)

Karen Garrison Kiri wrote: "Other books I love about mothers and daughters: Pigs in Heaven by Barbara Kingsolver and The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan, both have been around a ling time but I can read them over and over."

I'm Karaine. I agree Kiri, _The Joy Luck Club_ is wonderful! I was just thinking about it myself.


Denise wrote: "I've always felt a magnetic pull toward mother-daughter stories. It is a main theme in my own novel. Thank you for introducing me to some new stories in this post and in the comments section."


message 13: by Erica (new)

Erica Loved the Joy Luck Club. There are a few books here I shall have to read. My favourite mother/daughter book ever is 'Mother, can you hear me?'by Margaret Forster.


message 14: by Jeannine (new)

Jeannine Mendoza I read My Mother Myself years ago. Although it is not fiction, it rang true for me. Also rereading the classic Little Women and Little Men novels by Louisa May Alcott allowed me to rediscover amazing fictional mothers from a different era.


message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

All sound Great! Jodi has great taste in books and is honest along with enthusiastic when she recommends or an author. She isn't just commenting because she has to write something like some authors seem to do. You find her comments resonate while you read it, agreeing with her commentary/ endorsing the book. A true bibliophile.
I 'd love to understand more of her fascination with Alice Hoffman. She directed me to Sue Miller-awesome and Anne Tyler-love amateur marriage. I'm on Turtle Moon and wonder what enthralls her about Ms. Hoffman.


message 16: by Dayle (new)

Dayle Glassman area of placement?? All the Light We Cannot See author: Doerr, Anthony


message 17: by Hederlize (new)

Hederlize Frank wrote: "I dived into this thread because I am currently reading "The Rest of Her Life" by Laura Moriarty. Another book that deals with mother-daughter relationships. Highly recommended."


message 18: by Hederlize (new)

Hederlize Hi Frank, I read this book and it is very interesting.Nice to hear from you.


message 19: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie Beebe I have started listening to House Rules. I love it! I'll definitely pick up more of her work.


message 20: by Nea (new)

Nea I will give some of these a try. One of my personal favorite books that pertains to the mother-daughter connection is The Joys of Motherhood by Buchi Emecheta.


message 21: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie Dayle wrote: "area of placement?? All the Light We Cannot See author: Doerr, Anthony"

At the very top! So good!


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