The Atlantic

The Books Briefing: There’s No One Right Way to Be a Mother

Your weekly guide to the best in books
Source: Ben Curtis / AP

“Maternity entails its own unsettling journeys,” The Atlantic’s literary editor, Ann Hulbert, wrote earlier this year. It’s a statement that underscores the fact that motherhood can be fraught for many women, regardless of whether they have children. There’s no singular or “right” way to be a mother, and fiction and nonfiction works alike have been excavating the maternal role of women for years.

A 1979novel by Yuko Tsushima, which was recently translated into English, uses one single mother’s experience to explore what raising a child on your own is like, especially depicts an undocumented woman whose ambivalence about motherhood pushes back against the selfless-immigrant narrative, while the memoir by Vanessa McGrady illuminates some of the stressful situations that come with pursuing an open adoption.

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

Related Interests

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic5 min readPolitics
Conservatives Should Want to Impeach Trump
Outsourcing U.S. diplomacy to Rudy Giuliani was a constitutional violation—one whose gravity Republicans might see if they weren’t so busy making excuses for the president.
The Atlantic4 min readPolitics
Erdoğan Defies Trump. So Why Do They Get Along?
He defied the United States repeatedly, bought Russian weapons, and assaulted American partners in Syria. Now Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is headed to the White House for a meeting with Donald Trump. So will he get away with it? Probably.
The Atlantic4 min readPolitics
The System Was Blinking Red
The first day of impeachment hearings showed Trump’s improper bullying of Ukraine setting off alarms throughout the government.