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  • Writer's pictureCatharine Riggs

Dysfunctional Mothers & Me

Updated: Nov 27, 2023

I love writing about dysfunctional families. Both of my Santa Barbara Suspense thrillers feature mothers who made disastrous choices resulting in ruined lives. So in honor of Mother’s Day, I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite novels that delve into the darker side of motherhood. Enjoy! Olive Again, Elizabeth Strout. (2019): I delight in following Olive’s escapades but can’t help but feel sorry for her son; The Woman in The Window, A.J. Finn. (2018): This conflicted mom has a peculiar approach to mourning the dead; Little Fires Everywhere, Celeste Ng. (2017): So much dysfunction, so little time; Nutshell, Ian McEwan. (2016): It’s not often a fetus gets to tell the story of his mother’s appalling behavior; Big Little Lies, Liane Moriarty. (2014): Bucketfuls of dysfunctional behavior for all to enjoy; Dark Places, Gillian Flynn: (2009): A mother’s misguided attempt at suicide results in the massacre of her family; Geek Love, Katherine Dunn. (1989): A mother consumes drugs and radioactive materials to assure her children’s success in a traveling carnival; Carrie, Stephen King. (1976): On a scale of one to ten, Margaret White would be rated a minus five; Psycho, Robert Bloch. (1959): Norman Bates may be a twisted character but he didn’t get there without maternal help; East of Eden, John Steinbeck. (1952): An evil mother of twin boys manipulates and destroys.

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