Attachments fierce, funny, fateful, and forever.

Fierce Attachments

By Vivian Gornick

This memoir by one of our most eloquent essayists details, with clear-eyed candor, the Bronx-born-and-raised Gornick’s struggle to free herself from her mother’s powerful grip. It’s a doomed battle, redeemed by the author’s realization once she’s an adult that love outlasts liberty.

Please Look After Mom

By Kyung-sook Shin

When a 69-year-old Korean mother of five goes missing, her family begins a harrowing search for her through the backalleys of Seoul. They soon uncover secrets about the woman they long took for granted in a novel that BNR columnist Katherine A. Powers calls “an emotional, remorse-filled exploration of the past and a chastening discovery of the Mom nobody knew.”

Paris in Love

By Eloisa James

Bestselling romance novelist (and BNR columnist) Eloisa James relocated her family to the City of Light for a year of beauty and self-discovery — and she wasn’t disappointed. But this was no mere writer’s sabbatical: instead, as James recounts in this warmly funny and devastatingly honest memoir, her greatest challenges came in helping her two children adjust to the challenges Parisian life imposed and find their own path to the city’s unique pleasures.

Are You My Mother?

By Alison Bechdel

In her graphic memoir Fun Home, Alison Bechdel explored the enigma of her father’s life with radiant clarity and insight. Now the acclaimed cartoonist turns to her fraught relationship with her mother: passionate reader, amateur actor, merciless critic. (Don’t miss Maud Newton’s in-depth interview with Bechdel, in which the artist and writer speaks movingly about the way her mother responded to the book’s publication).

The Florist’s Daughter 

By Patricia Hampl

Hampl (A Romantic Education, Virgin Time) is an accomplished memoirist, as this volume, a reflection on the matter and meaning of parental attachment inspired by a vigil at her mother’s deathbed, proves beyond a doubt. Happy families may be all alike, but each deserves a distinction as telling as this book.