Posted in Top 5 Wednesday

Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Mothers & Maternal Figures

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam. You get a new topic every Wednesday, and you list your Top 5 books related to that topic. If you’d like to take part, join the Goodreads group, and add your name to the list of bloggers & booktubers!

I’m psyched about this week’s topic! There are some great literary mothers and maternal figures out there. I’m excited to share my favorites, and to hear what your favorites are in return.

Marilla Cuthbert
Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery

Marilla Cuthbert definitely wins the prize for biggest transformation. When I first met her as a child through the wonderful film adaptation of Anne of Green Gables, I loathed her. Who wouldn’t? She doesn’t want to keep Anne, a perfectly lovely and delightful girl so desperately in need of a home, because she isn’t a boy? But as time goes on, Marilla softens enough to allow room in her heart for this unexpected daughter.

Ingrid Magnussen
White Oleander by Janet Fitch

Ingrid Magnussen wins the prize for being most memorable. She is not a good mother, by any stretch of the imagination. She’s beautiful, psychotic poet in prison for the murder of her boyfriend, who cheated on her with younger women. It’s been a while since I read White Oleander and a lot of the details escape me, but Ingrid’s craziness looms large in my mind. Her self-centered attitude affects almost every aspect of her young daughter Astrid’s life, including her relationships with a long string of terrible foster mothers.

Aibileen Clark
The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Aibileen Clark wins the prize for selfless love. Although her own son has passed away when The Help begins, Aibileen serves as a surrogate mother for Mae Mobley Leefolt, the toddler daughter of the family she works for. While Elizabeth, Mae Mobley’s mother, is a housewife, she imposes distance between herself and her daughter, often only speaking to her when she is frustrated or angry with her. Despite her ill treatment at the hand of the Leefolts due to her race, Aibileen loves Mae Mobley as if she were her own child.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Marmee wins the prize for excellence in parenting. Every time you turn a page in Little Women, it seems like Marmee is either encouraging, instructing, or gently reprimanding one of her four daughters. She is equal parts soothing and terrifying, depending on what the situation calls for, but above all, she loves her girls and everyone else. In a time when women were not expected to be down-to-earth, hardworking, and intelligent, the March girls were raised to high standards.

Molly Weasley
The Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling

Molly wins the prize for being the BEST LITERARY MOTHER EVER. She devotes herself wholeheartedly to all of her children, even when they disappoint her (Percy, cough, Percy). Even when the family doesn’t have money for Christmas, she finds a way to not only send gifts to her own seven children, but also Harry and Hermione. She cares for Harry as if he were her own son, celebrating his successes and defending him the way his own mother cannot. And she might be kind, sweet, and homey, but don’t you dare go after one of her children. She’ll turn into a warrior goddess in no time flat. No other fictional moms can top her. Sorry not sorry.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s T5W! I’ll see you next time.




Olivia Ard is the author of women's fiction trilogy The Bennett Series and Readers' Favorite 5-Star recipient 'Tis the Season. She is pursuing a second degree in sociology. She and her husband JD live in Central Alabama, where they await their miracle baby's arrival this November with joyful expectation.

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