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How are you celebrating Mother’s Day? Will it be delivering breakfast in bed, having a family dinner at home, or planning a lavish brunch on the Plaza? Or maybe your plans include a lazy afternoon, kicking back with a good book.
If a good book is on the schedule, Mother’s Day is a great time to take another look at some classics. The ‘new’ book of the bunch is old enough to be a grandmother, which only goes to show that a good story about a mother’s love is truly timeless.
The “Little House” series (Laura Ingalls Wilder)
From 1974 to 1984, even people who had never read a line of Wilder’s book were part of the Ingalls family. The series was only loosely based on the books – for instance, it was set in Walnut Grove, Minnesota, although the little house on the prairie was in Independence, Kansas. (Both the Independence site and Wilder’s later home in Mansfield, Missouri are within day-trip distance of Kansas City). Geography aside, both the books and the series had a big something in common – Ma Ingalls. Pa may have been in charge as he moved the family through what was then wilderness – Wisconsin to Kansas to Minnesota and finally South Dakota. But Ma was the anchor that held the family together in both good times and bad.
Gone With the Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
Scarlett is the first female character that comes to mind to readers, but she’s not the motherly type. She’s more interested in men and financial security than her children, but her life is surrounded by a trio of strong women, and she depends on them without acknowledging or even realizing it. She idolizes her own mother, Ellen Robillard O’Hara, and is alternately pampered and scolded by Mammy, who tries (usually unsuccessfully) to be the voice of her conscience. And, of course, there’s Melanie Hamilton Wilkes, one of Scarlett’s strongest supporters as well as her unknowing rival for Ashley’s affections.
Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
Based in part on Alcott’s own childhood, the girls of the March family share little in the way of personality or temperament. Despite their differences, though, they all depend on Marmee. Margaret March is kind and gentle, doing charity work for others while trying to set a good example for her daughters. But Marmee is no pushover, and she’s strong enough to raise her family largely alone when Father goes off to war. It’s no surprise that Marmee seems to be the ideal mother that any little girl would want.
This article is published in Examiner.com.