- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Riverhead (13 Oct. 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0735215405
- ISBN-13: 978-0735215405
- Product Dimensions: 15.1 x 2.3 x 23.2 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 53,664 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Mothers: A Novel Paperback – 13 Oct 2016
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"The Mothers is a beautifully written, sad and lingering book - an impressive debut for such a young writer." --The Guardian
"Ms. Bennett allows her characters to follow their worst impulses, and she handles provocative issues with intelligence, empathy and dark humor. Her risk-taking pays off." --New York Times
"Brit Bennett is rightfully being hailed a brilliant new voice writing about black women... This is a novel with heart - it made me feel; it made me think. And I can't wait to read more of her." --The Pool
"Some novels take place as you read them, while others grow more complicated as you think back on them. Bennett has written that rare combination: a book that feels alive on the page and rich for later consideration. If you read The Mothers, you will learn a lot." --Washington Post
"The Mothers is good, moving, and astute…[it] illustrates how rare major books that treat black families and friendships are, where racism and suffering are present in the story but not the entire story." --NPR Books
"Brit Bennett's debut is often funny, generous, and brightly written." --GQ
"Compelling début novel." --The New Yorker
"Amid roiling arguments about privilege, appropriation, and race, the 26-year-old writer - author of essays on all of the above - has written a first novel exactly for its time." --Vulture
"An age-old tale told in a wonderfully fresh voice." --The Bookbag
"Brit Bennett's lyrical debut novel The Mothers follows Nadia, Luke, and Aubrey into adulthood, examining how decisions made in youth and the 'what if' questions that follow can affect and haunt us years after the fact." --Buzzfeed
"Brit Bennett&apoos;s masterful debut is brimming with unforgettable scenes and the sort of keenly-observed, precise language that makes you look at your own relationships anew. Told with the wisdom of a seasoned, compassionate storyteller, The Mothers is a novel about community, friendship, grief and growth. The two women at the center of this novel are characters you will find yourself thinking about long after you've turned the last page - they pull you in close and never let you go. Bennett is a brilliant and much-needed new voice in literature." -- Angela Flournoy, author of National Book Award-finalist The Turner House
"Brit Bennett's The Mothers is a brilliant exploration of friendship, desire, inheritance, the love we seek, and the love we settle for. It is the kind of book that from its first page seduces you into knowing that the heartbreak coming will be worth it." -- Danielle Evans, author of Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self
"[A]n engaging and assured debut novel of depth, and introspective power. It succeeds as a brilliant study of a modern black woman, and as a lyrical and majestic portrait of her place in society." -- Chigozie Obioma, author ofThe Fishermen
"Brit Bennett is so bracingly talented on the page. . .[The Mothers is] astute and absorbing and urgent." -- Jezebel
"A wise and sad coming-of-age story showing how people are shaped by their losses." --Kirkus
"I also found it to be a quite beautiful book: shimmering with intelligence; fully alive to both the joyful and the difficult part of love; illuminating on motherhood..."--The Times Literary Supplement
"An age-old tale told in a wonderfully fresh voice. Young love and old wisdom, and some of the reverse as well. 4.5/5" --The Bookbag
"As much as The Mothers is steeped in black culture, it s also pointedly, poignantly universal in its depiction of young love and friendship and hard choices. Maybe that qualifies as revolutionary, or maybe it's just a really good novel, one that makes all the mess and magic of being young feel both new and familiar in the best kind of way." --Entertainment Weekly
"Bennett's characters struggle to know one another while navigating a morass of regret, bitterness, and desire; the result is a drama of feeling that explores how trauma shapes the contours of our lives and delineates the limits to our intimacy." --The Millions
"Gracefully, Bennett explores beauty, gossip, friendship and secrecy." --Huffington Post
"Tenderly written, and one of the best books of the season." --Elle
"The Mothers tells a young girl's coming-of-age story, but it's different than any others you've read, for real... The characters of The Mothers will stay with you long after you've read this novel - and every minute of their company will be worth it." --Literary Hub
"This book is something special: sage and sad and spectacular." --Book Riot
"The Mothers is an outstanding, engaging debut novel... I loved the voice and the storytelling and how Bennett is able to hold the story she wants to tell together over the course of a decade. 4 stars" - Roxane Gay on Goodreads
"An Amazon Best Book of October 2016: The Mothers is an absorbing and powerful novel about motherhood, female friendship and finding love with a broken heart. Brit Bennett will captivate you with her characters - who are hurting, flawed and trying to navigate the unsteady transition into adulthood. Seventeen year old Nadia Turner has her world turned upside down when her mother commits suicide and shortly thereafter, she discovers she's pregnant with the pastor's son's child. Nadia finds a safe harbor in her best friend Aubrey, but as the years go by, her past decisions invade the present, ushering in a new wave of wounds. The Mothers ambitiously tackles heavy circumstances, but the hope of these young black women and Bennett's ability to convey the ferocity of what it means have a mother, to be a mother, and to want a mother, make this novel a resoundingly magnetic and essential read." --Al Woodworth, The Amazon Book Review
About the Author
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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Top Customer Reviews
The Mothers is the story of seventeen years old Nadia Turner who is grieving the death of her mother. The pain is all the more acute as her mother didn’t die a natural death. She’d committed suicide. Set in Oceanside, CA, this is also the story of Luke, who is the son of the local church’s pastor. Then there is Aubrey Evans, with whom Nadia shares a common bond. They are both without mothers. But in Aubrey’s case, her mother didn’t die. She’s motherless because her mother chose to be. And the two girls also share one thing in common – Luke, with whom both fall in love at different point of time.
The Mothers by Brit Bennett is a deeply moving story which centres around a trio of teenagers and follow them till their mid-twenties - through high school, college and into adulthood. What makes the book really engaging is the difficult choices each have to make, and how it will shape their lives. The author crafted a brilliant story with nuanced characters, allowing delicate shades of meaning to be appreciated. It is a riveting, heart-wrenching and moving story about mothers, and motherhood with many readers likely to relate themselves to the situations and characters in the story.Read more ›
The book opens with 17 year old Nadia Turner getting an abortion. Nadia is the smartest girl in her Southern California community but she's been derailed by her mother's suicide 6 months earlier. She has been in a relationship with the local pastor's son, Luke, who is 21 and equally, albeit physically, damaged after a football accident. Nadia never really considers keeping the baby: she has a place waiting at the University of Michigan and she knows a baby would be a mistake. However the abortion will have ramifications which will haunt her and haunt Luke and the repercussions will eventually spread to affect others in the community.
It takes a little while to find its feet, but once it does this is such an absorbing book that it's very hard to put down.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)
This story is m mostly told from the point of view Nadia, a highly intelligent, determined yet conflicted, complicated young lady and also told from the point of view of a group of "Church Mothers" from a very tight knit church called Upper Room. There are chapters featuring other points if view but it's mostly Nadia and the Mothers.
When Nadia Turner is 17 years old she loses her mother. She and her mother were very close so she is completely devastated. Her father, Robert, is so caught up in his own grief that he seems to forget that he's solely response for a 17 year old girl who may be handling her loss in self-destructive ways.
To deal his wife's untimely death, Robert turns to the church where the Turner family has always worshipped and his late wife was a very active member. Robert finds a sense of purpose spending his time helping wherever he is needed.
Upper Room is more than just a place to spend an hour on Sunday mornings, to its members, it their community. Many members are there daily, considering the church to be their family. The pastor and his family are all but treated like royalty. In fact, the pastor's wife is referred to as 'the first lady.'
The "Church Mothers" are the older ladies who have been involved with the church for as long as anyone can remember. They basically devote their lives to taking care of church business; running bake sale etc, praying daily for the members in need and gossiping about members - of course they don't consider it gossip, they think of it as sharing concerns and looking for opportunities to pray for others. Nonetheless, it's gossip.
The book opens following Nadia though the rough months right after her mother dies when she forms bonds that will stay with her for the rest of her life and makes a mistake that will also follow her through her life.
A lot of very 'real life' drama ensures making it hard to put the book down and hard not to take sides and pick favorites.
WHAT I LOVED:
I really loved the characters. They were very human and flawed. None were bad but they all made their share of mistakes.
The "Church Mothers" were so real to me and probably anyone who grew up entrenched in a church community. They are basically well meaning ladies who set the standards for what is considered acceptable church behavior, church attire and church etiquette. Every Sunday morning across the US, mothers are straightening hair bows, combining down cow licks and reminding children to mind their P;s and Q's, all n an effort to get a nod of approval from these ladies.
The story line was relevant, interesting and sucked me right in. It was hard to put it down.
I both loved and hated that the ending didn't tie things up in an easy to swallow little package.
WHAT I DIDN'T LOVE
There wasn't a lot to not love. I really don't enjoy books where the story line seems out line with reality and where characters do things that seem unbelievable. This book felt very authentic. I guess if I had to complain, it was a little short.
The 3 major characters all transitioned between likeable and unlikeable throughout the story. Nadia and Luke, most often.
The layers that make up Nadia, Luke, and Aubrey gave them depth. Made you wonder what decision they'd make next or why they made it. Each had characteristics or internal conflicts anyone could likely identify with maybe not in the exact mix they possessed but elements of them.
The past, the present, their love, their friendship, their fears, their feelings - none of its black or white and all complicated by each.
Despite enjoying the read, the ending felt rushed. The author left quite a bit unaddressed and not in an "we'll leave it to the imagination" way. It felt abrupt as if she ran out of time. The last scene seemed like an attempt at holding onto some semblance of one of the main character's sense of mystery and legend but fell a bit flat. And a sizable amount of the electricity building up to the climax of the story fizzled.
That said, I would still recommend the book, 85% of it is was pretty good and may even be a fun exercise to devise your own ending. Where would you have taken the story?
I did have two issues with this book. The first, being that it was narrated by a group of women from the community church called, The Mothers. I never felt that I knew anything about these women nor why they were narrating the story until the last chapter. The second, I felt the story's ending was too abrupt. I was left feeling as if nothing was resolved. This may have been the author's intent but it left me with too many questions that I don't expect will get answered.