Not sure what to add to your summer reading list? Here are some page-turners to toss in your beach bag featuring mom characters you’d totally hang out with in real life.
by Randy Susan Meyers
This is a fictionalized version of Bernie Madoff’s descent from a life of affluence and luxury to his exposure as a fraud when his Ponzi scheme crumbles, ruining thousands of lives. In this compelling story, we meet Jake and Phoebe Pierce as students. Alternating between Jake’s and Phoebe’s perspectives, Meyer chronicles a marriage clouded by deceit. When Jake’s lies are exposed, Phoebe must face the truth: she never really knew her husband.
As Phoebe’s life implodes, the public judges and shames her, assuming her complicity in her husband’s crimes. We, however, have known her since she was a teenager who was desperate to get out from under her overbearing mother’s roof. We worried for her as Jack grew increasingly anxious and detached, and we rooted for her as she re-invented herself as a professional. So we feel for her when her children cut Jake out of their lives, leaving Phoebe to decide where her loyalties lie.
This is a poignant, funny, coming-of-age story chronicling the life of Addie Baum. Born to Jewish immigrants in Boston at the turn of the twentieth century, Addie’s early life is characterized by her struggle to escape her parents’ expectations and forge her own path. As she unspools her story in response to her granddaughter’s request for an interview (“How did you become the woman you are today?”), we are transported to early 1900’s Boston, where Addie goes to great lengths to obtain an education, forges enduring friendships, faces losses, and searches for love. Addie’s sharp insight, wicked sense of humor, and vast wisdom make you want to sit down with her over a cup of coffee and a platter of blintzes and hear more of her stories.
The story is set into motion when sixteen-year-old Lydia Lee’s body is found in a local lake in a small rust-belt town, but the drama actually began long before Lydia was even born. The story takes root when Lydia’s mother, Marilyn, a Radcliffe co-ed with dreams of becoming a doctor, meets her father, James, a Harvard professor who is the American-born son of Chinese parents. A masterful storyteller, Ng exposes the mountain of secret hurts and desires the Lees have harbored over the years, which ultimately leads to Lydia’s death.
Initially, it’s easy to lay blame on Marilyn. As a mother,…