Sunday, May 14, 2023

Eight books about the lives of single mothers

Kelly McMasters is an essayist, professor, mother, and former bookshop owner. She is the author of The Leaving Season: A Memoir-in-Essays (2023) and co-editor of the ABA national bestseller Wanting: Women Writing About Desire (2023). Her first book, Welcome to Shirley: A Memoir from an Atomic Town, was listed as one of Oprah's top 5 summer memoirs and is the basis for the documentary film The Atomic States of America, a 2012 Sundance selection, and the anthology she co-edited with Margot Kahn, This Is the Place: Women Writing About Home (2017), was a New York Times Editor’s Choice.

At Electric Lit McMasters tagged eight "books that delve into the life of single mothers, both fictional and real," including:
Galatea by Madeline Miller

As with Miller’s other masterful stories, Galatea is a feminist retelling of an accepted Greek myth, in this case tracing the story of the sculptor Pygmalion who creates his perfect woman in marble. After a blessing from a goddess, the sculpture comes to life, but Pygmalion soon boils over with rage when he realizes that by breathing life into her stone beauty, his creation now also has a mind of her own with desires and independent thought. After giving birth to their child, Galatea can no longer pretend to be submissive and obedient, understanding that unless she leaves, she is locking her own daughter into a cycle of thwarted independence. Galatea breaks free, working to build a beautiful life alone with her child, for a period. This tiny book (all of 64 pages) feels giant, with characters who dig their talons into you and refuse to let go.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue