Open Wounds

R is for Rhea

Rhea is the mother of the Olympian Gods (7 including Zeus) and wife of her own brother, Chronos. I mean, how many titans could there have been to choose from? Chronos eats all his kids but Rhea feeds him a stone (large one) swaddled in blankets instead of her last son, Zeus. Zeus escapes and as we all know from the Percy Jackson Tales (at least that’s been my refresher course) he rescues his siblings and puts the titans in their place. Saved by mom and a big swaddled stone.

Its made me think of mothers and their place in the books I’ve read recently. I just finished Michael Grants Gone – a wonderfully creepy story about kid survival practically without the presence of any mothers (or fathers) at all – even though one mother’s actions are key to the plot and kids act as “mothers” of different types. Mr. Grant can spin a tale and take it down some dark paths. But his tale represents the absent mother motif.

The present and struggling mother comes from A.S.King’s Everybody Sees the Ants – in which the mother swims to cope. She is not the protagonist but the story could not be told without her struggling presence. I love this book.

There’s also the mother with the heart of gold, the evil mother, the step-mother (good, bad or indifferent), the replacement mother, the oh my God what a mother (okay I just made that up), the mother who dies in the first scene or before (thank you Disney – that’s their speciality). How many others can you think of?

How do you write these characters as authentic human beings? Read King’s book to see. The mother is called the squid but she is not defined by her squidiness. As with any character in a book, so too in real life.

4 responses

  1. I love Lucky Linderman’s mom almost as much as I love Vera Dietz’s dad. Amy really writes the most amazing parents ever.

    I have only one question about Rhea – do you think Cronos was … proportional?

    April 20, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    • Hah! I’m reading Vera Dietz right now and enjoying it immensely. Her and Andrew are like two sides of a coin in many ways. Before I forget. I’m on for T on Monday?

      April 20, 2012 at 9:46 pm

      • Shit that’s right. Yes, T for monday. Just send me the title of your post by Sunday night, and maybe try to schedule it for very early in the morning, maybe 6 AM.

        And yeah, Vera is my favorite book of Amy’s. That’s not to say they’re not all phenomenal, because they are, but there’s this weird dynamic where I can relate to both Vera and her dad, and it pulled me into the story like nothing else.

        April 20, 2012 at 9:54 pm

  2. I love reading Matt/Joe dialogue.
    A.S. King writes parents that are true. All of her books are my favorites, just like all of Andrew’s are my favorites.

    April 22, 2012 at 2:51 pm

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