One True Thing by Anna Quindlen

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Ellen Gulden has been accused of helping her terminally ill mother die, but what is most striking about this poignant novel is the deepening intimacy between mother and daughter.  In Ellen’s words, “our parents are never people to us, they’re always character traits….There is only room in the lifeboat of your life for one, and you always choose yourself, and turn your parents into whatever it takes to keep you afloat.”

For more novels that look at difficult choices that forever alter characters’ lives, here are three stand-outs:

Midwives by Chris Bohjalian

The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards

My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult (or really anything by this author)