Buy yourself, a pal or your mum a top maternal tome.

Mother’s Day looms. Unlike quick and easy online flowers, a carefully selected book makes for the most thoughtful of gifts. You may not have thought so when you were a child, but you’re older and wiser now.

Here are seven popular and intensely personal books about mothering. Some are funny, some silly, others a little preaching. From the autobiography of a former First Lady and a cartoon hardback to a profoundly moving fiction about an estranged mother, these books make considerate gifts for the mothers you know, or indeed for yourself.


Michelle Obama

‘Motherhood became my motivator. It dictated my movements, my decisions, the rhythm of every day,’ wrote Michelle Obama in her deeply personal autobiography Becoming. In this book, the former First Lady writes about her struggles to get pregnant, her miscarriage and her two rounds of IVF. She reflects on the lessons her mother taught her and how she encourages her own daughters to be independent and resilient. ‘Being a mother has been a master class in letting go. Try as we might, there’s only so much we can control,’ she wrote. Buy it here.

Hurrah for Gin: A Book for Perfectly Imperfect Parents

Katie Irby

Do you know a mother who is desperately overwhelmed? Who overthinks everything? Who pays membership for a gym she never attends? Who has a baby that doesn’t sleep? Hurrah for Gin is the most ridiculous, and pleasing, book for harassed mothers. It is written for those who find parenting an infuriating and magical uncontrollable whirlwind. If you don’t laugh when raising little people, you will cry. Better to laugh! Buy it here.

Woman’s Hour: Words from Wise, Witty and Wonderful Women

Alison Maloney

This collection of quotes and extracts taken from the radio show Woman’s Hour covers every topic under the sun from politics and arts to family and society. For the last 70 years, some of the greatest women on the planet including Benazir Butto, Enid Blyton and Meryl Streep have contributed. Readers will benefit from sage advice from these worldly ladies about love, family, ageing and relationships. Buy it here.

Stories of Motherhood Edited

Diana Secker-Tesdell

This hardback anthology looks upon all aspects of motherhood as it gathers over a century of literary celebrations of mothers. Simultaneously lyrical and satirical, the short tales in the book are realistic, fantastic, hilarious and heart-breaking. They look at birth, death and elemental human relationships. Of particular note is Alice Munro’s poignant story ‘My Mother’s Dream;’ it is a tale of a young widow, her eccentric relatives and her newborn’s brush with death. Buy it here.

Girl, Woman, Other

Bernadine Evaristo

Relationships between women are complicated, and this Booker Prize-winning novel explores the lives and struggles of very different women across several decades. It is a tale of mothers, mother figures, daughters, daughter figures and the lives of black British families. Dubbed an ‘experimental novel,’ the unconventional book is mostly not punctuated and doesn’t have a plot as such. And yet powerful stuff is contained within its covers. Buy it here.

The Hand That First Held Mine

Maggie O’Farrell

This Sunday Times bestseller is a tender story about how love binds us, the ordeals of parenthood and invisible family secrets. This well-constructed and believable novel is a brilliant portrayal of memory, motherhood and a mother’s love. It addresses the joys, the exhaustion, the anxieties and the overwhelming sense of responsibility. Buy it here.

My Name Is Lucy Barton

Elizabeth Strout

This powerful book is by one of America’s finest writers Elizabeth Strout. The invigorating and profoundly moving book looks at the estranged relationship between a mother and daughter. It is the story of memories of memories, of a traumatic past and a family’s influence. A must read, albeit a deeply personal one. Buy it here.

By Annabel Jack
March 2022

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Annabel Jack

Contributing Editor

Annabel is a regular contributor to The GWG, with a taste for finest in food, fashion and interiors.