The Mothers: A Novel by Brit BennettThe Mothers: A Novel by Brit Bennett

The Mothers: A Novel

byBrit Bennett

Paperback | October 11, 2016 | Large Print

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER 

“Bittersweet, sexy, morally fraught.” –The New York Times Book Review


"Luminous… engrossing and poignant, this is one not to miss." –People, Pick of the Week 

"Fantastic… a book that feels alive on the page." –The Washington Post

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.
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 Magaz...
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Title:The Mothers: A NovelFormat:Paperback | Large PrintDimensions:400 pages, 9 × 6 × 1 inPublished:October 11, 2016Publisher:Diversified PublishingLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1524709867

ISBN - 13:9781524709860

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Beautiful, Striking, Must Read Read this book for book club and was so wrapped up in this novel I almost read it again! It's beautifully written and a striking story that rang true to the human experience of friendship, first love, and familial confusion.
Date published: 2018-08-09
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not the Best 2.5 Stars This one was just an OK book. I think my big issue with it was that I didn't actually like any of the main characters. I really enjoyed "The Mothers" aspect that was created and I found that I liked the beginning of each chapters more than the rest of the book and found myself counting how many pages were left. It just didn't hold my attention.
Date published: 2018-06-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from so good I loved this book. I was looking for a good novel to get into and this was just it. Bennett's writing pulled me in from the start. The characters were well developed and believable and the plot unfolded at the right pace.
Date published: 2018-06-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Touching debut novel I really loved this book. The characters were realistic and relatable. I felt so sorry for Nadia throughout so much of the book, but I loved her. The book is full of little perfectly written lines: "Grief was not a line, carrying you infinitely further from loss. You never knew when you would be sling-shot backward into its grip."
Date published: 2018-05-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from loved it! A friend recommended it to me, and I'm so glad I listened. While the narrative isn't straightforward, I found that kept my attention. A great read
Date published: 2017-11-07
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Solid start but didn't hold up for me I didn't hate this book but I didn't understand why we needed to have so many main characters. 3 would have been enough. Maybe this is one of those books that you like more once you read it again. Joy luck club was like that for me. The start was great but at many times, I found myself counting the number of pages that were left. At the same time, it is a solid debut and I look forward to reading more from Brit.
Date published: 2017-09-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! Loved this well written novel. Beautiful yet heartbreaking story.
Date published: 2017-08-05
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Couldn't Get Into It I didn't hate this book, but I couldn't exactly get invested in it either. I found myself distracted more often than not and I was not overly moved by the characters' stories. It wasn't awful, but I don't think I would recommend it to my friends.
Date published: 2017-04-15
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Solid Debut "A girl who didn’t want a baby would find a way to not have one. The good thing to do – the Christian thing – would be to make it a little easier on her." In her debut, Brit Bennett brings flawed characters to the page with ease. Her writing is smooth and easy to take in, and I enjoyed so much about this story. Nadia is 17 years old and destined for greatness, but grieving the sudden loss of her mother. In her grief she falls into the arms of Luke, the local pastor’s son. Luke and Nadia engage in a typical teenage fling – it’s passionate yet fleeting, resulting in an unwanted pregnancy and a secret that binds them together. This is a coming of age story spanning about 10 years in which we see Nadia and Luke come together and separate many times over. Along the way, Nadia develops a friendship with a girl named Aubrey who untimely becomes deeply intertwined in both Nadia and Luke’s lives. The narrative in uniquely divided between many of the central characters, as well as a group of older church ladies simply known as “the mothers”. I struggled a bit with the purpose of these women – they observe drama unfolding from the sidelines and gossip about it among themselves. I kept thinking they would inject some wisdom or greater meaning into the story, but this never really happened. There is tons of wisdom in the book, however, and Bennett delivers many profound moments in this work: "Black boys couldn’t afford to be reckless, she had tried to tell him. Reckless white boys became politicians and bankers, reckless black boys became dead." "In a way, subtle racism was worse because it made you feel crazy. You were always left wondering, was that actually racist? Had you just imagined it?" These are just a couple of the passages that I highlighted while reading, and I could easily share many more. My primary disconnect is that I can’t quite figure out this book’s intent – what is the mission here? The book discusses abortion openly and frequently, but doesn’t take a stance on it (though I would say it leans heavily towards pro-life). I realize this book isn’t meant to be a political statement, but I am trying to work out what is it meant to be. It certainly poses the question “what makes a mother?” – is it physically having a child, or does the longing for a child count too? "How small she’d looked next to the size of her wanting." In the end, this may simply be a book about longing: longing for love (romantic and maternal), family, friendship, longing to find space in the world, and for the truth.
Date published: 2017-01-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great debut novel, writer to watch This book is told from the point of view of several characters including " The Mothers" who are matriarchs of a church in a tight knit community in California. The main character Nadia, who has a distant father ( likely with some PTSD) and whose mother shot herself right before the timeline of the novel, has a secret involving preachers older "bad boy" son, and the story follows their families and her best friend Aubrey ( a shy devout girl with secrets of her own) as they live with this secret into adulthood and mature relationships. Explores the "what ifs" in life. Though this is said to be written in contemporary times, the views towards sensitive topics and life in general seem to be kind of old fashioned but it is a small religious town.
Date published: 2017-01-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Beautiful Debut! An incredibly sad but so masterfully written meditation on grief, longing and loneliness. This was one of the most perfectly paced novels I've ever read, and one I won't soon forget.
Date published: 2017-01-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Dark and Really Well Writtten Really enjoyed this book - took me a while to get into it, but it was worth it.
Date published: 2016-11-20

Editorial Reviews

"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 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"Brit Bennett’s The Mothers is an 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 of The Fishermen“Brit Bennett is so bracingly talented on the page. . . [The Mothers is] astute and absorbing and urgent.” —Jezebel“This book is something special: sage and sad and spectacular. This is a book about how the choices you make, and those made for you, shape the lovely, hopeful tragedy of your life.” —Bookriot “A wise and sad coming-of-age story showing how people are shaped by their losses.” —Kirkus