|Is she perhaps neglecting her children?|
Today’s entry appears at Guardian Books Online. This coming Sunday is Mother’s Day in the UK, and I thought it might be refreshing to take a turn round some rather imperfect parents in fiction - this is how the Bad Mothers' literary litany starts:
Charles Dickens had an extremely difficult relationship with both his parents – they were feckless, and he felt they let him down badly - and mothers do not come off well in the books. His picture of his own mother is Mrs Nickleby – mother to Nicholas and Kate – and is quite painful. She is incompetent, foolish, and no good in a sickroom – ‘coming into the room with an elaborate caution, calculated to discompose the nerves of an invalid rather more than the entry of a horse-soldier at full gallop’ – very unhelpful given the amount of illness and nursing occurring in the oeuvre. Mrs Copperfield, horribly, fails to protect David from his stepfather, while Bleak House’s Mrs Jellyby lets the children fall downstairs and get their heads stuck in railings because she is so busy with her charitable works….READ MORE AT THE GUARDIAN BOOKS BLOG HERE
-- where the list moves on through the works of blog favourites such as Marilynne Robinson, Nick Hornby, Philip Hensher, Denis Lehane, Nancy Mitford, Evelyn Waugh and many others.
Is Brenda Last thinking about child or lover?
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