The Mothers

The Mothers

A Novel

Book - 2016
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c
CAR101010
Nov 07, 2020

Very easy read surrounding a very interesting topic. However, I'm not sure the book quite lived up to the hype. I was expecting something shattering and life-changing - it was not that unfortunately. Kudos to the author for tackling such a complicated topic though.

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hteshomee
Sep 27, 2020

Idk how to rate this.. it was a decent book, I enjoyed.
I related to Nadia so much that it brought tears to my eyes in the beginning. I liked the different POV because I never thought about the boy’s side of abortions and how it can follow them for so long—at least when it is with a woman they love/like. I also like how real life world this is, gossiping church ladies, strained parent relationships, health issues, betrayal.

Although I felt that some parts of the book was unnecessary. I felt like it dragged in some places. I also thought, towards the end, things just got repetitive. But I think I would have a different experience reading the physical copy even having no issue with the audio. This book is worth rereading which is rare for me.

Book is a lot about life. Just lives of these people and how they are dealing with their life choices. I personally like more plot heavy/driven stories, but i enjoyed this book enough to want to read it twice.

I would recommend for all contemporary readers and to women who has had trouble with any idea of motherhood (receiving and giving).

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BARosen1112
Aug 21, 2020

Very impressive first novel from Brit Bennett with themes including the meanings of friendship, family and religion. The title refers to a Greek chorus-like group of Church elders who comment on events throughout the novel. The strength of The Mothers, though, is the characterizations, all of which ring true, from the friendship at the heart of this novel to more peripheral characters. I read this one while waiting for Bennett's second novel, The Vanishing Half, to be available, and I'm glad I did. Highly recommended.

CALS_Lee Jun 01, 2020

"Upper Room had encircled the wailing mother and held her up, soundlessly, because hard deaths resist words. A soft death can be swallowed with Called home to be with the Lord or We'll see her again in glory, but hard deaths get caught in the teeth like gristle."

That's a mere aside about a non-character in this novel, however it does a fine job of summing up the essential thing to know about this debut from an obviously talented writer. Two lives are absent from this story, and their hard absences shape these characters in difficult ways. They pull together and push apart, love and hurt one another, in the wakes.

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EljayJohnson
Oct 27, 2019

Despite the title, this story is also about fathers and daughters and lovers and friends. Three teens in a small town in California - a beauty who just lost her mother to suicide, a bad boy pastor's son, and a lost girl suffering from horrific trauma - collide, befriend, be-love, and betray each other one summer, and repeat the pattern well into adulthood. Well-written and affecting, and certainly surprisingly assured for a debut novel. I didn't like the Greek chorus of church ladies; it felt forced and tacked on to a story that could stand on its own. Bennett tackled a lot of tough themes - abortion first and foremost, but also sexual abuse, family estrangement, religion and faith - and deftly handled the heft while keeping tight grip on her plot.

STPL_JessH Sep 13, 2019

The Mothers is stunning. Absolutely stunning. I started reading slowly because I kept stopping to reread particularly well-written passages. This book is beautifully crafted. There's no need for annoying or overt symbolism because Bennett's text and content are so intricately integrated that I purposefully interrupted the flow to savour each passage. Then, I had to let myself be carried away by this narrator. Of course we've read this plot before; that does not matter. What matters is the experience of spending a few hundred pages listening to Bennett tell a story. This story is rich, and lush, and heart breaking. It's messy in an elegant way: in a way that forces pain to be contained and the bubble never bursts because it has morphed into another form entirely. I highly recommend this book!

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esrobbins
May 27, 2019

Well told story about family and friendship. Bennett provides great metaphors and similes throughout her story which makes reading this pleasurable. The topic of loss and love and the impact both have on our life made this book interesting to read.

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Chambers120
Apr 16, 2019

Marvelous just wonderful book. The beginning catches you right away and the story just gets more and more intriguing, very realistic. I hope the author writes plenty more books.

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agoldsby
Feb 25, 2018

This story grew on me. By the end I had cried, got mad, threw the book down in frustration and then cried again. I like the way the author developed the characters and I found pieces of myself in each one - the hallmark of a great writer. Hollywood should definitely be interested in bringing this story to the screen. I'm looking forward to reading more from Brit Bennett. I'm pretty sure I'll brag to anyone who will listen how I read her first book before she became a household name.

VaughanPLUrszula Dec 04, 2017

This depiction of how the lives of three people intersect and the repercussions of an abortion on the greater community is sparse, yet extremely well executed. A great choice for a book club, as there is much to decipher and discuss.

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KatG1983
Oct 25, 2017

The Mothers follows the lives of three young people, how their relationships interact over time, and how their actions change each other's lives. The Greek Chorus of Church Ladies overseeing the decades long tale provide an all-knowing/all-seeing narrative trail. The story covers the topics of love, family and the consequences of our actions over time. I really enjoyed it, and would definitely recommend.

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MrsSarahGrace
Jul 27, 2017

I grabbed this book because it was suggested by one of my favorite bloggers, and she described it as one of the most anticipated books of the year. I realized after I started reading that I had heard the author interviewed on NPR. The book follows the lives of three characters and many of the tragic occurences they have endured, from a mother's suicide to a mother ignoring her own child's sexual abuse, but most of the plot focuses on an abortion that happens in the very beginning of the book. What I liked best was the switch in POV, shedding light on why a certain character did what he/she did and why. Getting into each character's mind helped the reader fully understand that character's action even if the other characters couldn't. I didn't really love or hate the narration of "the mothers" throughout the book. It might have been a bit distracting, but it did provide an importance to the writing, making it seem classic, reminding me of the witches in Macbeth. I look forward to more from this new and young author.

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abbi_g
Jul 08, 2017

I first came across The Mothers on Instagram; and after that, book clubs seemed to be buzzing about how good it is. Then they put it on display at my local library, so I decided to borrow it; and I'm so glad that I did. I really enjoyed the story. It kept me engaged and the storyline wasn't at all cheesy.

Kudos to Brit Bennett for penning a great debut novel!

Sansha Jul 05, 2017

I really enjoyed this book. I love books about family and relationships. How we are always looking for answers when parents leave. How our past will often haunt us well into our future. I loved the main character, Nadia. She was flawed but also had great strength and determination.

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brangwinn
May 27, 2017

If I spend time thinking about the characters after I’ve read the book, it has made an impact on me. The Mothers did just that. As “the mothers” of the church watched the pastor’s family and members of the church, a lot was seen, but much was missed. As elderly women they’d seen a lot of living and death. Their observations as they watched the pastor’s son, a young girl grow up after having her mother commit suicide and a young girl abandoned by her mother, they reflect back on their lives. Told from the perspectives of the young people and well as the mothers, the church becomes a living place providing solace for some and confusion for others.

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EmilyEm
Apr 30, 2017

There’s lots of ‘mothering’ in Bennett’s coming-of-age story set in Oceanside, CA, with a triangle of teenagers facing myriad issues.

The book’s narrative voice comes from a group of churchwomen, elders who have seen it all and give their opinions freely among themselves. A brilliant plot device. It was interesting to enter these people’s lives for a while, so different from my own experiences. I had a hard time identifying with any of them, but I applaud this debut effort. Well done.

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heidijoemonty
Mar 19, 2017

I couldn't put this book down. It was so beautifully written and the story was gut wrenching (in a good way!) What a beautiful story about love, friendship, tough choices and forgiveness.

ArapahoeAndrew Mar 09, 2017

A beautifully written tale that tackles the complexities of friendship, love, loyalty, and family. The characters have great depth, and each page brings a new tidbit of intrigue that is sure to make the book read in one sitting.

JCLMELODYK Feb 10, 2017

This book has received a lot of buzz but I was not a big fan. Might be a good book club read.

EvaELPL Feb 02, 2017

A lovely, lyrical piece of writing that breathes an incredible amount of emotion into the story of one woman's life.

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ccielusn
Feb 02, 2017

Absolutely wonderful story. Really well written - had a hard time putting it down!

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lindab1111
Jan 29, 2017

A story about life choices and the repercussions of those choices. This is a theme in many books but the story line revolving around girls and mothers is compelling. Elder women of the church congregation were mainly sideline characters and I wish they would have been more prominent. Their stories would have been a rich contribution. But I thought the characters were rich and fully developed.

ArapahoeAlyson Jan 10, 2017

This was a really interesting look at a secret kept and then slowly revealed in a small community. I loved the small Black church that is the centerpiece of the story because it was a unique way to look at the impact that decisions and mistakes make on a range of people. Great book from a debut author!

Amy_MarkhamPL Jan 10, 2017

A moving and insightful debut from a writer who makes it seem easy. Brit Bennett is a natural storyteller. All of the voices in The Mothers - but particularly those of the mothers themselves - are familiar, profound, and occasionally infuriating. The characters are flawed and damaged, yet likeable. I loved this book and I'm very excited to see what she does next.

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lukasevansherman
Dec 19, 2016

"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?"
Strong, but uneven debut novel from Brit Bennett. It deals with classic novel themes such as family, as the title indicates, love, the past and its impact on the present, and race. It's that last topic that makes it stand out, although I would've liked it to have gone a little deeper with the theme. The story itself is familiar, but engaging, although it feels a little disjointed, as if she wrote it out of order. Still, as we're approaching the twilight of the white male writers, it's always good to have fresh non-white, female voices.


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