Book Review: The Mothers

Book Review: The MothersThe Mothers
by Brit Bennett
on October 11th 2016
Pages: 278
Published by Riverhead Books
Genres: Literary Fiction, Multicultural

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.

My Takeaway 

“After a secret’s been told, everyone becomes a prophet.” Brit Bennett, The Mothers

The Mothers is a wonderful book I could not put down! Also, don’t you just love the cover? It’s gorgeous! Ok, now on to other matters. Bennett’s debut novel is a compelling and fascinating story full of realistic situations. The characters in The Mothers are genuine, flawed, and full of tangible emotions – just like real life. The debut novel is about how tangled relationships are and how everyone has and keeps secrets. It is also about how some choices have the ability to follow and haunt us for the rest of our lives. Nadia, a go-getter, Black, seventeen-year-old, tragically loses her mother to suicide. She is desperately trying to fill the void of her mother’s death by any means possible. A few months after her mother’s death, Nadia begins to secretly date Luke, the local pastor’s son (who is four years older than she is). Nadia has big dreams but becomes pregnant and decides an abortion is her only option. Years later, this decision will come back to haunt Nadia and Luke. There are a lot of components and layers to this captivating novel. This is Bennett’s first novel and I can’t praise her enough. She is a remarkable, talented writer, who is bringing us a fresh and much-needed voice. The world needs more writers like Bennett to inject us with stories full of cultural diverse characters. If you appreciate books with complex, imperfect and authentic characters, you just found your next read (you’re welcome). The Mothers will be adapted into a film by Warner Brothers and Kerry Washington (Simpson Street). I can’t wait to discuss The Mothers with my book club.

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