Good Minds Suggest—Jodi Picoult's Favorite Mother-Daughter BooksOctober, 2014
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)
"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
"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)
"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
"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)
"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."