The Quirkiest Mothers in Literature

Anushka Mehrotra  //  May 6, 2016

The Quirkiest Mothers in Literature

It is undeniable that our mothers have an indelible effect on our lives. Why else would we take an entire day to celebrate them? Each year OOM uses Mother’s Day to celebrate the mothers who have greatly affected not just their own children, but society as a whole. I am, of course, talking about mothers from literature. This year we’re going to once again celebrate some fictional mothers, but with a twist. That is, this year we’re going to celebrate the oddballs, the strange and quirky mothers in literature that we’ve all come to love (or hate?)

Sally Jackson (Percy Jackson and the Olympians) – Percy Jackson’s human mother seems quite normal on the surface, but let’s face it, we’re talking about a woman who had a kid with Poseidon here. Sally is a vibrant presence in the books, witty and teasing. Most of all, she has one very prominent, very charming quirk. After a fight with her now ex-boyfriend Gabe, who told her that food could not be blue, stubborn Sally decided that all the food in the Jackson household needed to be blue. Which is why when we are first introduced to Percy, we learn that he grew up eating blue food that Sally would bring him from her candy shop. It’s a quirk so unique, it immediately makes Sally pop on the page.     

Cora Wintle (Dancing Shoes) – Mother to Dulcie and aunt to Rachel and Hilary, Aunt Cora is the owner and operator of a dancing academy in London, and leader of the troupe Mrs Wintle's Little Wonders. Aunt Cora has a range of bizarre requirements for her students and children, and over the course of the book the girls are forced to learn everything from tap to pantomime to acrobatics. While overbearing at times, it’s clear that Aunt Cora ultimately means well.

Marigold Westward (The Illustrated Mum) – It’s clear that Marigold is quirky simply from the fact that she named her daughters Dolphin and Star. And if that’s not enough to convince you, how about the fact she’s completely covered in tattoos? While The Illustrated Mum doesn’t paint Marigold in a completely favourable light – due to various reasons she ends up losing her girls at the end of the book – it is undeniable that Marigold is a character whose eccentricities stick in your mind long after the book is over.

Maura Sargent (The Raven Cycle) – Blue’s clairvoyant mother, while fiercely loving and generally quite rational, is definitely an oddball. An observation you can make from the fact that she named her daughter Blue. Of course, living in a house full of psychics isn’t exactly normal, and Blue constantly walks in on her mother and the other 300 Fox Way ladies sitting in bathtubs or playing bizarre drinking games or messing about with tarot cards. Whether Maura is searching for Blue’s mysterious father ‘Butternut’, dating a poetry-loving assassin, or wandering through darkened caves, one thing can be said for sure about Maura – she keeps things interesting.

Happy Mother’s Day!


Percy Jackson Book Cover Courtesy of Puffin, London