Contemporary Literature’s Most Memorable Moms

The Hours by Michael Cunningham
When we first meet Laura Brown in Michael Cunningham’s novel, we learn that she is the wife of a World War II vet, and reading Mrs. Dalloway in bed instead of planning his birthday party. Already pregnant with her second child when she barely has the energy (or desire) to pay much attention to her first, Laura feels trapped into playing a role that she’s no good at. After the embarrassment of an ugly birthday cake and an awkward kiss with a female neighbor, Laura drops her son off at the sitter’s house, checks into a hotel with her book, and plans to commit suicide. Instead, she ends up abandoning her family and moving to Canada.