Brooke Shields, the actress-model who became an icon of ‘80s style with her appearance in a controversial Calvin Klein denim ad, will write a book on the complex and sometimes difficult relationship between mothers and daughters, to be published by Dutton. The book doesn’t have a title or release date, and it is unclear whether it will be personal or sociological (or perhaps a mixture of both).
The Ivy-League-educated celebrity (Shields attended Princeton) has been in movies such as Pretty Baby and Blue Lagoon, as well as television series like Lipstick Jungle and Suddenly Susan. If the book is memoir, Shields may focus on her relationship with her two daughters and her relationship with her mother, Teri, who died last year. Teri was Shields’s manager and pushed her young daughter to take on controversial projects, such as the child prostitute role in Pretty Baby. Shields took over her own career in her 20s, a move which caused strain in their relationship, the actress has said.
Until Shields’ book — which could plumb some of the darker aspects of the mother-daughter bond — comes out, here are three other books about troubled mother-daughter relationships you can read.
1. Blue Nights by Joan Didion. Didion’s memoir explores the loss of her daughter Quintana, who died at 39 after much trouble with addiction and other health problems. Quintana’s death came shortly after the death of her father, John Dunne, whom Didion mourns in her previous memoir The Year of Magical Thinking. Elegiac and devastating would be apt descriptions of this book, which is named Blue Nights after “the time I began it I found my mind turning increasingly to illness, to the end of promise, the dwindling of the days, the inevitability of fading, the dying of the brightness,” Didion writes.
2. Mother, Mother by Koren Zailckas. Zailckas’s debut novel tells the tale of a tyrannical mother who alienates and manipulates her children and husband. One daughter finds herself wondering whether family bonds — the willingness to play by a set of rules in order to keep the peace — is a form of “magical thinking or mass psychosis.”
3. Pure Gold Baby by Margaret Drabble. Although the relationship between this book’s mother and daughter is not troubled in the ways those of the prior books are, Jess’s daughter Anna is a handful due to Anna’s mental disabilities. This novel pulls in anthropology and history for a touching examination of one woman’s devotion to her child.