This week, celebrate Mother’s Day with a haunting short story and a heartfelt Southern epic, ponder the role of the trophy wife in the modern world, and help support women’s education worldwide by asking yourself what you would teach a young girl if the world were your classroom.
On Your Kindle
She’s the First is an organization devoted to the belief that the best way to solve global problems is to educate women and girls. In this amazing anthology of poems—culled from girls and women across a spectrum of ages, states, and nations—young women respond in verse to the prompt: If the world were your classroom, what would you teach a girl?
The responses are heartfelt, cautious, angry, insightful, and always hopeful. Recurring themes include self-confidence, self-love, and a sense of protection—from boys, from expectations, and from a media that constantly makes girls self-conscious about, rather than celebrates, the idiosyncrasies that make them unique. Download this e-book for your commute—and 100% of the proceeds will go to sponsoring girls’ education around the globe.
On Your Smartphone
Trophy Wives No More, by Tina Cassidy
“Trophy wife.” It’s an expression that drips with insult and an uncomfortable degree of truth. For years, disenfranchised women leveraged their beauty to gain status and financial comfort, and wealthy men gained gorgeous wives. As women become more educated and financially independent, however, what has happened to the concept of the trophy wife? Tina Cassidy of the Boston Globe ponders this very question, examining the relationships between beautiful, high-power women and their husbands. Read and weigh in below: Do you think the trophy wife still exists?
On a Podcast
Colm Toibin Reads a Short Story for Mother’s Day, Guardian Books
In celebration of Mother’s Day this past weekend, listen on your Monday commute to this short story by Irish author Colm Toibin. If you’ve overloaded on pastel flowers and gushy cards this weekend, then this is a story for you: It elicits a range of emotions—loss, anger, resentment, and love—as it describes the story of a meeting between a long-estranged mother and son in an Irish pub. Toibin’s lilting voice is reason enough to listen to the story, as is the angst he so expertly establishes in the protagonist. Listen all the way to the end, which features the performance of an Irish song sung in beautiful, haunting tones.
Where the Heart Is, by Billie Letts
Too often, stories of unplanned pregnancies and teenaged mothers end poorly. But in this novel, selected for Oprah’s book club in 1998, a 17-year old mother exudes such an intense love for her child that a whole community flocks around her and steels her.
Seven-months-pregnant Novalee Nation is traveling across the country with her boyfriend when he leaves her, stranded, in an Oklahoma Wal-Mart. Letts’ story is exceptionally well-crafted: Her eccentric characters display a full range of human emotion and experience, as well as down-home southern humor and charm. Novalee is the true hero, though: In the face of insecurity and a multitude of mistakes, her love for her baby keeps her strong.