June 9, 2023


Connecting Asian writers with global readers

12 Books on Toxic Mother and Daughter Relationships

2 min read

Namrata curates a list of 12 books on toxic mother-and-daughter relationships while also exploring why is this theme not commonly found in Indian writing.

I remember reading Where You Belong by Barbara Taylor Bradford in 2001 and being awestruck. Till then, I had never seen an Indian novel talk about the toxic side of a mother-daughter relationship this openly. In Where You Belong, Bradford talks about a young girl whose mother never wanted children but was forced to have them as her husband was keen on having children. She did bear him children but was never there as a mother for them. It was as if the kids grew up with only one parent throughout their life. Their mother, was actively absent, be it emotionally or physically.

So far, I had never seen or read, about this aspect of love. The only thing I had seen and read was about the absence of love between parents leading them to become MIA in their children’s lives. This story showed a side where love was in excess between the parents, so much that the mother felt having children would mean sharing her husband’s love with others and that is why she detested them.

This pushed me to explore this theme in Indian Writing. I wanted to experience something closer home, something that felt more relatable. The closest I reached was Two States by Chetan Bhagat where he was openly talking about an abusive and violent father. The way I could relate to Krish’s character when he lied every time to make up for his father’s absence from important social functions, is beyond words. This was in the early 2000s.


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