Linda Kallerus/Netflix

What Book Is ‘Otherhood’ Based On? The Mom-Only Road Trip Started As A Novel

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Netflix has had success with original movies based on books and the upcoming film Otherhood is no exception. If you're wondering what book Otherhood is based on you've come to the right place. A Google search will not give you the answer quickly, but I will.

I learned from the Chicago Tribune that Otherhood is based on the novel Whatever Makes You Happy by William Sutcliffe, released in 2009. The official Amazon description of the book says that "Three suburban moms who have long been friends decide to show up unannounced at the homes of their thirty-something layabout sons."

But the trailer below reveals that it's a little bit more complicated than that. Carol (Angela Bassett), Gillian (Patricia Arquette), and Helen (Felicity Huffman) are empty-nesters and their sons forget Mother's Day. This prompts the women to go on the road trip to Manhattan ready for a confrontation. When they arrive, they learn more about how their own lives are changing than expected.

"...For women in their 50s, where you still have a lot of life to live, you get to decide what you want that to be,” Otherhood's writer and director Cindy Chupack told The Tribune. It's a time in their lives that women don't often consider, and Chupack hopes the movie changes that. “I hope the film starts those sorts of conversations, and I hope that as the result of the film also that a lot of people will call their mother," she continued. I think if it leads to a spontaneous road trip, that's cool too.

Otherhood has taken 10 years to make it to screen, and Chupack's life has changed in one huge way during that time. She wasn't a mother when she started the project, but she's now mom to eight-year-old Olivia. "When the movie started I related more to the three boys, although I always loved the female friendship aspect of the movie," Chupack told Parade. "Now, as a mom, I can see their concerns coming down the road for me. I feel like I’m loving every minute and also mourning every minute as time is going by."

Like Chupack, Bassett's children still live at home, and she explained to NPR why motherhood can often feel overwhelming. "You are consumed by [your children] — by keeping them safe, feeding them, providing for them, for presenting a good example for them," she said. "They are a vortex that you fall into."

Bassett's character Carol is "trying to emerge" from that vortex while also trying figure out who she is now that she's a widow and not a wife. So, Carol has a lot to deal with and definitely needs her friends, and Bassett can relate to her character's instinct to turn to her friends in moments of growth. Speaking of her own friends, Bassett told NPR, "I really am made just bigger and more interesting by their conversations and by the time that I spend in their company."

Otherhood acts as a friend of its own whether you are a mother rediscovering herself or a kid that needs a reminder to pick up the phone and call your mom. When the fun ends on screen, just pick up Sutcliffe's book for more.