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, 17-year-old beauty. Mourning her own mother's recent suicide, she takes up with the local pastor's son. Luke Sheppard is 21, 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.
©2016 Brit Bennett (P)2016 Penguin Audio
"Brit Bennett is the real thing. The Mothers is a stellar novel - moving, thoughtful. Stunning. I couldn't put it down. I'm so excited to have this brilliant new voice in the world." (Jacqueline Woodson, National Book Award-winning author of Brown Girl Dreaming and Another Brooklyn)
"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)
"Brit Bennett is so bracingly talented on the page... [The Mothers is] astute and absorbing and urgent." (Jezebel)
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"Preachy Cautionary Tale about Abortion"
While the story was engaging enough, ultimately it was too preachy for me. The chapters start with church mothers talking but honestly those sections detracted rather than added to the story. The characters weren't really believable to me. I didn't care for the way the reader over enunciated words. In sum, I just didn't like this book
"Lacks understanding, depth and compassion"
I would absolutely not try another book by the author.
The reading was fine.
This book failed to capture any real nuance, understanding or compassion for the main character. There are already enough voices projecting onto women how they feel or ought to feel about abortion, especially by people who have never faced the decision themselves. Unfortunately now there is one more. The writing wasn't anything special. Lots of attempts at illuminating analogies that fell flat.
This is one of the worst books I've read in a very long time. Reading it is like watching an episode of a very bad teen tv series. And to make things worse, the narrator reads like a robot. A total disappointment!
"Nothing like Mothers"
I was sad when it was over. Re-heard a couple of chapters. Luke, Nadia and Aubrey are people I know in my head :)
"A very good book for discussion"
I completely enjoyed this book although I wasn't crazy about the voice used for Aubry. There were multiple layers of issues on many dimensions. I never felt like anything was forced. I've seen reviews that the book was overly preachy on the abortion issue but I didn't find it inconsistent with a book set in a church community. I thought the characters were complex and very real. I think this is a good book for white readers to learn more about the a realistic middle class black community.
This book was so rich with wonderful, complex characters that I wanted to keep listening after it was done. At it's heart, this is a story about friendship, love, loss, faith, family, and those themes intersecting in a web of compelling narratives.
The story is told in pieces by "The Mothers" a group of elder women at the church that has a gravitational pull for our characters, the group of women is a little mysterious and all-seeing which added an element to the story I enjoyed. Listening to this book I appreciated having them as a narrator and guide, but I also felt like I wanted to rebel against them and their judgement on occasion--it made me a little more susceptible to rooting for one of the main characters.
Nadia and Audrey both have had difficult things in their past--Nadia's mother died and she initiates a relationship with the preacher's son the summer after that as a kind of balm. They fall hard for each other, but keep the relationship a secret. When she gets pregnant, she doesn't have anyone to tell but Luke, her 21 year old boyfriend. She's smart, ambitious, and wants something for herself that is bigger than her hometown--she's searching and trying to take all of the opportunity her mother missed both by having her at 17 and because her life ended early. Nadia gets an abortion the summer before leaving for college and ends up working at the church. Audrey lives with her older sister and her sister's girlfriend because she was assaulted by her mother's boyfriend. Audrey is a little dorky and committed to her religion (much to the chagrin of her sister). She and Nadia find each other that summer and become close friends--they see the heartache in each other--but not quite close enough to disclose their deepest secrets.
The plot is compelling--you understand why each character follows their path and the decisions almost seem like foregone conclusions, though you may be pulling for them to do something else. The yarn of the story unwinds beautifully. There's a cadence to the plot that I loved and lulled me into a receptive awe. The inevitable clashes are written so well that I felt like there was no alternative except how Bennett laid them out. The language was beautiful.
I really enjoyed listening to this story and can't wait to see what's next from Britt Bennett. A wonderful author.
This was the first book of fiction (aka not for school) that I've listened to on Audible and it was wonderful! I was traveling to VT to visit a friend (it was 4 hours each way) and I almost finished the audiobook during those two trips. I finished listening last night as I laid in bed and realized just how nice it was to have someone read a story to me.
I loved how each character had a slightly different voice, but wasn't a caricature or over the top--it was just a different cadence. She brought the characters alive for me.
"Interesting story if..,,,,,"
This was a fairly interesting novel , worth listening to but the narrative was so slow and dirge like that it was only when I bumped the listening speed to 1.25 was I able to tolerate the pace. That improved it considerably.
it should come it a warning. it is for the anti-choice public only...and one that heavily leans misogynistic at that
by not implying the the life of a successful, well traveled female lawyer life would have been better if she stayed behind with her looser drunk boyfriend
no, no redeeming qualities. how can one prescribe the idea of dismissing academic and career success that elevates one above their conditions. horrible message for girls. that hard work ans success will not give you happiness... only babies can do that. ouch!!!!
I kept listening the book thinking, that the story would turn around, surely... it did not.
I loved the narrator. She made each character seem real. Very clear and easy to listen to.
A poignant, insightful and deceptively simple novel, that is beautifully written. The powerful narration makes the story that much more compelling. Among the many perspectives carefully embroidered in this novel, the one motif that was captured was the depth and complexity of the lasting effects of trauma on the development of a young woman's self esteem. It also cautions us how if early emotional traumas are left to the elders of blind faith or without access to good mental health specialists these deep scars will continue to reverberate throughout a person's life from one generation to another.
I eagerly await Ms. Bennett's next novel.
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