Get personalized recommendations and earn points toward a free book!
Check Out These
21 Books You’ve Been Meaning to Read
See the List
The ReadDown

The 16 Worst Mothers in Books

Mom. Mommy? MOM! Most mothers know best, but these terrible moms only know worst. We’ve compiled a list of the horrible, mean, bad moms in fiction.
  1. 1

    Matilda’s mother

    THE WORST. Let’s all agree that Miss Honey is Matilda’s true mom.

    Matilda Book Cover Picture
  2. 2

    Cersei Lannister

    Cersei is evil and will do anything for the iron throne, a lifestyle that doesn’t reflect well on her children.

    A Game of Thrones (HBO Tie-in Edition) Book Cover Picture
  3. 3

    Queen Gertrude

    Marrying your (recently) late husband’s brother is one thing, but ignoring your son? Shame on you, Queen G.

    Hamlet Book Cover Picture
  4. 4

    Beth Jarrett

    Beth allows tragedy and mourning to destroy her ability to love anyone but her dead son.

    Ordinary People Book Cover Picture
  5. 5

    Dori Goldin

    Dori has an illness that makes her deliberately harm her own child called Munchausen syndrome by proxy.

    More Than It Hurts You Book Cover Picture
  6. 6

    Mary, Precious’s mother

    Precious does everything for her mother and receives nothing but abuse.

    Push Book Cover Picture
  7. 7

    Sophie Portnoy

    Sophie is a neurotic mess and completely redefines the definition of a helicopter parent.

    Portnoy's Complaint Book Cover Picture
  8. 8

    Janice Angstrom

    Drunk, mean, awful Janice Angstrom is definitely one of the worst mothers on this list.

    Rabbit, Run Book Cover Picture
  9. 9

    Margaret White

    Carrie’s mom is as creepy, scary, and awful as they come, “I can see your dirty pillows.” Gross. Bad mom!

    Carrie Book Cover Picture
  10. 10

    Marcus’s mom

    Marcus’s mom is just plain mean. Luckily, Marcus isn’t a product of his environment.

    About a Boy Book Cover Picture
  11. 11


    Hm, yes, killing your sons to get revenge is not your best maternal behavior.

    Medea Book Cover Picture
  12. 12

    Addie Bundren

    If you didn’t want children, you shouldn’t have had children. Get on with it, woman. And while you’re at it, quit abusing your students.

    As I Lay Dying Book Cover Picture
  13. 13

    Charlotte Haze

    Pay closer attention to your daughter.

    Lolita Book Cover Picture
  14. 14

    Emma Bovary

    Vanity and selfishness a mother does not make.

    Madame Bovary Book Cover Picture
  15. 15

    Cathy Ames

    She may look innocent, but her monstrous behavior becomes apparent early on.

    East of Eden Book Cover Picture

Find other titles in

Related Lists:

Back to Top