It's been more than a month since the entire Gilmore Girls series hit Netlix and ruined all of your plans of productivity at work and in life in general. Chances are, many of you have already made it through the seven seasons re-watch project (or, if you're lucky, for the first time!) and re-convinced yourself that the ending is far different than what it should have been, that Dean is the worst Rory boyfriend, and that a teensy part of you thinks that if you got pregnant at 16, you'd have the best mother-daughter relationship, too, and life would be great.
Gilmore Girls is notorious for having one of the best casts of any TV show in existence, and that's from Luke and Christopher, Emily and Richard, to the disgruntled French concierge Michele, to the incomparable dance teacher with a crazy past Patti, to Kirk, the town jester, to Jess, aka the greatest Rory boyfriend in the show. But none could compare to the relationship between the titular characters Lorelai and Lorelai, aka Rory.
If you've already binged your way through the show, you're probably feeling a Stars Hollow-shaped void in your life. These eight books with some of the Gilmore Girls spirit can fill that void.
Anywhere But Here by Mona Simpson
The classic mother-daughter novel Anywhere But Here is perfect for Lorelai and Rory fans. The story of single mom Adele and her wise daughter Ann is told from the point of view of three generations of women, and there's a touch of Lorelai in Adele, though the latter has much less of a hold on reality. As Ann describes her mother:
And even if you hate her, can't stand her, even if she's ruining your life, there's something about her, some romance, some power. She's absolutely herself. No matter how hard you try, you'll never get to her. And when she dies, the world will be flat, too simple, reasonable, fair.
The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver
The Bean Trees' Taylor Greer, like Lorelai, desires to escape her upbringing — though Greer's rural Kentucky background is a far cry from Emily and Richard Gilmore's palatial home. But as Greer takes in a 3-year-old Native American little girl named Turtle, the novel echoes the show's themes of abandonment, identity, and belonging.
Taylor and Turtle's story continues with Pigs in Heaven.
Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple
In Where'd You Go, Bernadette the eccentric Bernadette and her daughter Bee are best friends among a dysfunctional family and a completely absurd world (Stars Hollow, anyone?). But when Bernadette disappears, Bee devotes her time to compiling all of her mother's correspondence, documents, and computer history to find her. The result is an unconventional, hilarious story that doesn't have to choose wit and humor over heart or charm.
Traveling With Pomegranates: A Mother-Daughter Story by Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor
Sue Monk Kidd, famous for her novels The Secret Life of Bees, The Mermaid Chair, and this year's The Invention of Wings, teamed up with her daughter Ann Kidd Taylor to write a dual memoir about their travels through France, Turkey, and Greece. Kidd and Taylor use their traveling life to rediscover each other and meditate on the bond between mothers and daughters, as they each struggle with obstacles in their own lives.
Kidd and Taylor are basically living the European travel dream that Rory and Lorelai always planned for.
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
If your favorite part of Gilmore Girls is the quirky side characters that populate Chilton, Stars Hollow, Hartford, and Yale, then you'll need to pick up the Dodie Smith classic I Capture the Castle. Smith's novel captures the adventures of a completely eccentric family living in a decaying castle. The story also follows the crazy goings on of small-town life, which will resonate to everyone who ever wished the lived in Stars Hollow. Teenage Cassandra is the first-person narrator, who has a Rory-like intelligence at a young age.
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
The iconic novel The Joy Luck Club is a must-read for those looking for a good mother-daughter story. Amy Tan's novel has four mother and four daughters from four families, and they're all full of secrets and stories. Tan is able to pull together the complex mother-daughter relationship and make it feel completely real, with its tangled history, tragedies, and joys. I could say more, but those who haven't read it are probably already kicking themselves.
Rosie by Anne Lamott
Bird by Bird author Anne Lamott created an entire series about the growing pains of motherhood, told from when daughter Rosie is a child into teenage life. Mother Elizabeth, similar to Lorelai, needs to grow up fast when Rosie comes along, though it's not always as easy as it may sounds, especially when she's struggling with alcoholism. Rosie and its sequels Crooked Little Heart and Imperfect Birds were published over more than a 20-year span, so you really get a chance to get to know the famous mother and daughter.
Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts
A pregnant teenager finds that her family isn't supportive and so she travels and finds a home in a town filled with quirky residents. No, we're not talking Gilmore Girls, we're talking Billie Letts' Where the Heart is. Needless to say, it's the type of story that could sub in for Lorelai: The Early Stars Hollow Years.
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