This post is by TheNotMom team writer Laura LaVoie:
I was recently thinking about books I have read that inspired me, and changed my very worldview. I wasn’t sure what I would do with this list when I drew it up. But, then I thought about TheNotMom.com.
There is so much more to us as women than not being mothers, and we find inspiration in a number of places. I thought you might enjoy these classic book recommendations. I would love to hear about books you have read that have influenced you, or even changed your life.
In no particular order, here’s the 3 books that changed my life:
• The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle
When I was 7, this story came out in movie form, and the experience was so magical the memory is burned in my mind. I saw it with my father and brother, and it was one of the best memories of my childhood. My father read to me every night, so the next chance I had to pick a book from the library, I chose The Last Unicorn.
We didn’t finish it together then, but I’ve revisited the book several times since then. As it turns out, the story is not written for 7-year-olds. It tells of a unicorn that’s the last of her kind. She goes on a journey to discover what happened to the rest of her kind and meets a colorful cast of characters. My favorite was Molly Grue, who desperately dreamed of seeing a unicorn for so long that when she finally is face-to-face with one, she is furious.
I had the pleasure of meeting Peter Beagle several years ago, and I was able to tell him how much The Last Unicorn affected me, and an entire generation of women, too. This story taught me to search for my true self and never waver from my dreams and goals.
• Watership Down by Richard Adams
This was another movie-to-book experience for me. The animated version featuring the music of Art Garfunkel simplifies the tale. After I saw it for the first time, I really wanted to know the full story. I remember finding a beat-up copy at a used book sale while I was in elementary school. I quickly devoured it, but, just like The Last Unicorn, this book took until much later for me to truly understand it.
Adams uses the rabbits’ journey as an allegory – and it is a powerful one. The storytelling is amazing and detailed; right down to the rabbit language. Watership Down made me rethink community, survival, and how we treat others.
• The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
When I was in college, my roommate was taking a Women’s Studies course. In it, students were asked to read this book. She tried, but the story affected her so much that she was unable to finish it. I took it and began to read.
The story bothered me too, but it was provocative, and Atwood’s writing is some of the best ever produced. Her vision of a world where infertility is rampant and childbearing women are treated as possessions is chilling. She created a future like no other author; a future that we can actually picture that makes us stop in our tracks to think hard about our society. After The Handmaid’s Tale, I eagerly read everything else Margaret Atwood ever published.
Leave a comment to share your most influential books and add to this list!