Thankfully, since the DNF debacle (I actually DNF’d a weirdly disjointed Agatha Christie shortly thereafter!), I’ve read some GREAT books. I’m going to do my best to talk about all of them.
Today we start with Brit Bennett’s The Mothers.
By now, most of you have seen this book around. The cover is a colourful depiction of a woman, perhaps a stained glass woman. It’s been on Must Read lists all over the place and being lauded as a “dazzling” debut novel.
All of the hype is warranted.
How rare is it to be able to say that?
The Mothers is the story of three teenagers in a small African-American community in Southern California: Nadia, beautiful and motherless trying to find her way out of grief, making the only decision she can see; Luke, the son of the preacher coming to terms with his life after football; and Aubrey, a stranger in the community whose life centers around faith and being good, running from events that haunt her still.
When Nadia gets pregnant with Luke’s baby, the decision she makes ripples out through the years, touching all of their lives. This book looks at the decisions we make when we are young, when we are different from the people we will ultimately become, and how those decisions can define us for years after.
The title comes from the group of women, The Mothers, of the church who see everything unfolding, who see the experiences of Luke, Aubrey and Nadia through the lens of their own experiences, who tried to help where they could.
This book is beautiful. It astonished me. Somehow Bennett manages to weave a story around abortion that doesn’t feel judgemental – incredible when you realize that the story takes place in a community of faith. Although abortion is the device that propels the plot forward, this book isn’t about abortion.
Aubrey, Luke and Nadia come to us as flawed people, trying to forge their path in this world despite the obstacles thrown in their way. It is so, so, so beautifully written.
This is the kind of book that will give you a book hangover. The one that will leave you feeling dissatisfied with basically anything that you read afterwards. The best/most astonishing part? Bennett is only 25! It’s probably safe to say that we can expect more thoughtful, gorgeous, staggering stories from her.
PS she also wrote this.
Thanks to Penguin Random House of Canada for an ARC of this book.