If you’ve already binged Netflix’s four-part Gilmore Girls revival, then you’re well-versed in the coffee-fueled ways of mother-daughter duo Lorelai and Rory and the complicated relationship they have with grandmother Emily. You’ve braved through the muck of Rory’s love life, watched Lorelai have her Wild – the book, not the movie – moment, and finally found out those final four words.
And… if you’re like us, then you’re also already searching for more stories that take deep dives into the good (and bad) sides of close mother-daughter relationships. From touching intergenerational stories to shocking family epics, EW has compiled a list of 10 books that are sure to cure your Gilmore Girls withdrawal.
1. Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club
Tan weaves together 16 stories in four parts to weave tales of three mothers and four daughters in one Chinese American mahjong group, the Joy Luck Club. Told in vignettes, these women try to understand their impacts on each other’s lives. (Buy The Joy Luck Club here.)
2. Larry McMurtry, Terms of Endearment
Mother Aurora and daughter Emma navigate their complicated love lives from across the country. Aurora struggles with a slow-burn crush for her womanizing neighbor Garret while Emma has to face that her philandering husband Flap is in love with another woman. Kleenex required for this one. (Buy Terms of Endearment here.)
3. Janet Fitch, White Oleander
After jealousy and murder rock the aloof poet Ingrid’s life, her 12-year-old daughter Astrid is forced into several foster homes that trigger her issues with abandonment. Through compelling prose and a twisty-turny plot, Astrid tries to find herself outside her mother’s shadow and figure out if she wants to return to Ingrid at all. No wonder Oprah selected White Oleander for her book club. (Buy White Oleander here.)
4. Toni Morrison, Beloved
Morrison’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel houses tender, complicated relationships between a former slave Sethe and her daughters. After an unspeakable tragedy, Sethe believes her deceased daughter Beloved has returned much to the joy Sethe’s other daughter Denver. The three become co-dependent on each other before Denver grows concerned about Beloved’s effect on her mother. The heartbreaking tale of maternal bonds makes Morrison’s iconic book a must-read. (Buy Beloved here.)
5. Elizabeth Strout, Amy & Isabelle
In Strout’s debut novel, mother Isabelle and daughter Amy find themselves isolated in their small mill town of Shirley Falls. As a well-kept family secret begins to unfold and Amy hits her complicated adolescence, they have to figure out how far they’re willing to go to protect each other and their relationship. (Buy Amy & Isabelle here.)
6. Maria Semple, Where’d You Go Bernadette
Seattle teenager Bee embarks on a hilarious journey to find her mother, the once-renowned architect Bernadette Fox, after she disappears. With just a few clues, Bee follows a paper trail and discovers more about her mother – and her wonky ways – than she could have ever imagined. (Buy Where’d You Go Bernadette here.)
7. Mona Simpson, Anywhere But Here
Mother and daughter Adele and Ann August couldn’t be more different: Impulsive Adele is a wanderer who wants to make it big in Los Angeles, while her daughter Ann is a logical pragmatist, set on going to college. With a dwindling bank account and only each other to lean on, they fight for themselves and their dreams of better lives on the judgmental streets of Beverly Hills. (Buy Anywhere But Here here.)
8. Rebecca Wells, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
Ever since Siddalee Walker can remember, she’s had a fraught relationship with her mother Vivi, who she could never quite understand. After Sidda, a play director, gives an interview to the Times about her difficult childhood, Vivi stops speaking to her. Sidda only begins to see her mother for who she really is when Vivi’s best friends, a loving group called the Ya-Yas, divulge major secrets from their past. (Buy Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood here.)
9. Sue Monk Kidd, The Secret Life of Bees
In 1960s South Carolina, Lily runs away from her abusive father with her childhood nanny Rosaleen to live with bee-keeping sisters August, May, and June. The Secret Life’s heartwarming story has moments of tragedy, but ultimately relishes in the joyful companionship between the women… and their bees. (Buy The Secret Life of Bees here.)
10. Alison Bechdel, Are You My Mother?
Alison Bechdel searches for an understanding of the woman she calls “Mom” in Are You My Mother?: A Comic Drama. The graphic memoir goes hand in hand with her 2006 hit Fun Home and further examines the complicated relationship between mother and daughter. (Buy Are You My Mother? here.)