5 Books About Tough Parenting Decisions
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I should probably say right off the bat that I don’t have kids, nor do I plan on having them. Even so, I have read my fair share of books that revolve around the difficult choices parents make, whether intentionally or unintentionally. The following five novels focus on a few of the hard choices parents face. Some are heartbreaking, some are rewarding, and some are horrifying, but what they all have in common is that they were done with the best of intentions, even if they make you angry.
What Was Mine by Helen Klein Ross
What Was Mine is about a woman who kidnaps a child and raises her as her own. When the daughter is older, she learns the truth about where she came from, unleashing events that leave no one untouched. It’s told through alternating views and raises questions about right and wrong, unintended consequences, and what defines a mother. I admit, this book wasn’t for me but it’s gotten so many rave reviews from book bloggers that I’m including it in the list.
Little Mercies by Heather Gudenkauf
Every parent makes mistakes, but what happens when that mistake reverberates through every aspect of your life? Little Mercies is about a social worker who devoted her life to saving children, only to have her life, career, and parenting skills questioned following one, single lapse in judgment. Little Mercies is gut-wrenching and hard to read at times, but if you’re a fan of Jodi Picoult, you’ll love it.
The Unfinished Child by Theresa Shea
Touted on Goodreads as "a must read not only for parents in the Down syndrome community but for all parents, and for anyone who appreciates masterful story-telling,” The Unfinished Child is about one woman’s later-in-life pregnancy (arguably) and the choices she faces following her choice to undergo genetic testing. Given the praise, it’s not hard to figure out what those choices are, and the story navigates the emotionally complex decisions that lie ahead.
Patron Saint of Liars by Ann Patchett
Confession: I have loved everything I’ve read by Ann Patchett, so it’s no surprise that Patron Saint of Liars is on the list. This one is about a young woman who shows up at a home for unwed mothers, expecting to give up her baby and get on with her life. But the home is more than she bargained for, and in a strange twist of fate, she finds herself comfortable there until her past threatens to destroy everything she’s built.
Anything by Jodi Picoult
Okay, so Anything isn’t a book title but pretty much every book by Jodi Picoult is about parents who face difficult decisions. There’s the one where a father goes to extreme lengths to protect his daughter (The Tenth Circle), the one where the parents have a healthy child to save their sick child (My Sister’s Keeper), and the one with the child with osteogenesis imperfecta. Although her books follow a formula, they are usually heartbreaking and difficult to read.
What's your favorite book about tough parenting choices?