The Mothers by Brit Bennett Book Review
The lowdown from Goodreads
Published October 11, 2016
A dazzling debut novel from an exciting new voice, The Mothers is a surprising story about young love, a big secret in a small community—and the things that ultimately haunt us most. Set within a contemporary black community in Southern California, Brit Bennett’s mesmerizing first novel is an emotionally perceptive story about community, love, and ambition. It begins with a secret.
“All good secrets have a taste before you tell them, and if we’d taken a moment to swish this one around our mouths, we might have noticed the sourness of an unripe secret, plucked too soon, stolen and passed around before its season.”
It is the last season of high school life for Nadia Turner, a rebellious, grief-stricken, seventeen-year-old beauty. Mourning her own mother’s recent suicide, she takes up with the local pastor’s son. Luke Sheppard is twenty-one, a former football star whose injury has reduced him to waiting tables at a diner. They are young; it’s not serious. But the pregnancy that results from this teen romance—and the subsequent cover-up—will have an impact that goes far beyond their youth. As Nadia hides her secret from everyone, including Aubrey, her God-fearing best friend, the years move quickly. Soon, Nadia, Luke, and Aubrey are full-fledged adults and still living in debt to the choices they made that one seaside summer, caught in a love triangle they must carefully maneuver, and dogged by the constant, nagging question: What if they had chosen differently? The possibilities of the road not taken are a relentless haunt.
In entrancing, lyrical prose, The Mothers asks whether a “what if” can be more powerful than an experience itself. If, as time passes, we must always live in servitude to the decisions of our younger selves, to the communities that have parented us, and to the decisions we make that shape our lives forever.
The Mothers by Brit Bennett Book Review
Oh, Nadia….Nadia Turner. The girl who returns home when her father needs her & she has all the ladies at Upper Room chapel talking.
You know Nadia was never the same after her mother killed herself, that poor girl. You remember; she dated the pastor’s son, Luke Sheppard. That was so long ago- she was just a high school student. Luke was working at that fish restaurant & she’d get all dressed up to go see him. They were hot & heavy for a while & then it was over in an instant. He stayed here after he hurt his leg & she moved away to college & traveled the world. She’s studying for the bar exam now; I hear she’s gonna be a lawyer. I wonder what Nadia thought when Luke got married to her best friend, Aubrey. I don’t think the girls are as close as they used to be. You know, Aubrey never really had a mother beside her older sister. Then, she found Luke & they connected after Nadia left. I think Aubrey & Luke are great for each other & they seem happy. But, I think something is going on with Luke & Nadia since she returned home. It’s like they have something to hide. I’m not sure what it is, but something is going on.
The Upper Room
This is a book for women, girls, moms, daughters & friends. I connected so easily with these women; the mothers at Upper Room & the motherless daughters, Aubrey & Nadia. The story surrounds an abortion- a hard choice for a young girl to make with many unknown consequences. Please don’t let the subject of abortion deter you- this story is so much more. Brit spins this beautiful, complicated & emotional tale of how this decision affects the lives of many people, even years later. It’s a perfect selection for a book club, guaranteed to spur lots of discussions.
I can’t wait to see what Brit does next. I’m Really Into This book. I listened to the audiobook version of The Mothers, narrated by Adenrele Ojo & I highly recommend it. Another audiobook I loved was Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen.
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Born and raised in Southern California, Brit Bennett graduated from Stanford University and later earned her MFA in fiction at the University of Michigan, where she won a Hopwood Award in Graduate Short Fiction as well as the 2014 Hurston/Wright Award for College Writers. Her work is featured in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Paris Review, and Jezebel.
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