Saturday, May 10, 2014

Marmee: Mother of the Year

In honor of Mother’s Day, I pondered who should get Mother of the YA Canon.

I’m not going to lie: Mothers have it pretty rough in today’s YA books.  Most are selfish, absent, or completely oblivious, which is probably for the best considering their daughters are dating sparkling vampires and the like.

But it’s really a no-brainer.  Marmee, the affectionately named mother of Little Women’s Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy, will always have my vote for Mother of the YA’s.

Marmee is just so very good and so very strong.  With her husband away fighting the Civil War, Marmee plays the backbone of the family with perfect joie de vivre.  She believes in hard work, undying faith, and noble principles.  And while she gently guides her daughters' emerging moral codes, she does so without suffocating them with tiresome bromides and I-told-you-so’s.  Marmee always knows best - but she so wisely keeps this little secret cloaked under her thermal petticoat, allowing the girls to learn prudence through their own scrapes and experiences.      

So Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mothers in the ever flourishing YA oeuvre.  May all of you be blessed with such wise counsel as bestowed upon us by Marmee in my favorite quotation:

“If you feel your value lies in being merely decorative, I fear that someday you might find yourself believing that’s all that you really are. Time erodes all such beauty, but what it cannot diminish is the wonderful workings of your mind: Your humor, your kindness, and your moral courage. These are the things I cherish so in you. I so wish I could give my girls a more just world. But I know you’ll make it a better place." –
Marmee, Little Women

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