Our own families affect the choices we make, the lives we live, and the relationships we foster as we grow up. Our family members also contribute to our complexity as human beings. Because of this, there is more than one kind of familial relationship and structure. And the best way to explore these variations and their intricacies is through stories written about and for families.
To start with, here are the six best novels about family to start reading now.
My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
We all wonder what our life’s purpose is, and we mostly live our lives in pursuit of our worth. For Anna Fitzgerald, it is not the same; she has known her whole life what her purpose is—to be her sister’s donor. How she and her family react to this is explored in Jodi Picoult’s novel.
The disease affects a family in different manners. For the Fitzgeralds, it means saving one child while stepping on another’s rights. My Sister’s Keeper is a must-read for everyone who wants a good cry, laugh, and reflection of their own family lives.
The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin
What if you know when you’re going to die or when your family will die? How will you live your life? This question is what Chloe Benjamin’s The Immortalists shares with us. Following the lives of the four Gold siblings who learned about their ends from a visiting fortune teller, we get to know the different ways humans cope with the idea of dying and knowing when it will happen.
Some say that our thoughts, how we act and treat others are influenced by our knowledge of dying and mortality. And this is precisely how the Gold children lived, coping with the knowledge of their deaths and their siblings before it even happens.
Commonwealth by Ann Patchett
Loosely based on the author’s personal experience, Commonwealth follows the complicated beginnings of blended family life and the five decades that followed. Ann Patchett’s novel begins in the early 1960s when Beverly Keating and Bert Cousins meet, starting an affair that will pull their families apart and change their lives forever.
The story details the next five decades of the six Keating-Cousins children and their parents. Patchett’s beautiful storytelling makes us realize how love, relationships, and our own feelings play a role in how we all live and deal with the people around us.
This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper
Sometimes, it is not the good times that bring a family together; sometimes, it is death. And that is the beginning of Jonathan Tropper’s This Is Where I Leave You. To mourn their father’s death, Judd Foxman needed to spend a week with his dysfunctional family, who he was not close to that well.
Exploring the different characteristics of each member of Foxman’s family, this novel tells us about how family relationships are not always smooth-sailing. And through sitting shiva, they started to understand themselves, their mother, and their father as well. Because sometimes, it is not a life that brings people together, but the death of someone in our family.
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
What is motherhood? What are we ready to do for our children? These are some of the themes explored in Celeste Ng’s second novel Little Fires Everywhere. The story opens with the question of who set the fire and why before it takes us back to a year ago when newcomers Mia Warren, and her daughter Pearl arrived in late ‘90s Shaker Heights.
The Warren’s’ arrival threatens Elena Richardson’s vision of a suburban utopia as they disregard the status quo, affecting Elena’s carefully ordered community. But the story is more than just the Warrens and the Richardsons; it is also about a fight for custody for a one-year-old girl who is wanted by both her biological mother and the couple who raised her.
Packed with drama, suspense, and innocence, this novel will surely hook you from beginning to the end.
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
Gabriel García Márquez’ One Hundred Years of Solitude is not only about the seven generations of the Buendia family but also a century of the Latin American history from the 1820s to the 1920s. Hailed as the best expression of magical realism, García Márquez’ novel, starts with the patriarch José Arcadio Buendía as he builds his utopian city of Macondo in the middle of a swamp.
This story sees the rise and fall of the Buendia family and the complexity of time in their lives. It pans out as Macondo becomes connected to the outside world, bringing new technology and new people to this previously secluded world. Once you started reading this magical novel, you’ll get lost in the magic, sensuality, and love that encompasses the town of Macondo and the families living in it.
The beauty in novels about families is its emulation of the complexities of relationships we form with our own families, and we see in others. It is not of one singular emotion; it is an amalgamation of grief, happiness, fear, and love, hitting us up with every page turn. So, why not take some time to sit down and explore these feelings as you dive into these must-read novels about family and relationships.