The mothers : a novel / Brit Bennett.

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    • Abstract:
      Summary: "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"
    • ISBN:
      9780399184512
      0399184511
    • LCCN:
      2016010837
    • OCLC:
      ocn968166679
      968166679
    • Accession Number:
      fay.545995

Reviews

Booklist Reviews 2016 September #2

*Starred Review* California native Bennett's debut novel, set in the U.S. Marine Corps base city of Oceanside, unflinchingly examines the consequences of secret decisions born of pain and fear as they play out in the lives of three young people, decade by decade. The story is narrated in part by the eponymous mothers, a ­chorus of elder church women who—­having lived through it all—demonstrate no compunction in judging and discussing the choices made by their fellow parishioners of the Upper Room Chapel. Seventeen-year-old Nadia Turner, beautiful, brilliant and broken by the recent suicide of her mother, hastily falls in love with Luke, the pastor's son, who is literally broken, having suffered a college career-ending football injury. An unplanned pregnancy followed by the decision to terminate ends their relationship as quickly as it began. Nadia befriends Aubrey, who is harboring her own deep, if unseen, wounds. Nadia's eventual escape from Oceanside ends when she returns to care for her ill father, and, inevitably, the secrets all three have been keeping from each other are exposed in an eruption as shattering as one would expect, with life-altering fallout. Bennett's writing is both wrenching and light. She deftly blends the complex and serious situations her characters face with innate humor and understanding in this deeply affecting coming-of-age story. Copyright 2016 Booklist Reviews.

LJ Reviews 2016 May #1

In a contemporary black community in Southern California, 17-year-old Nadia Turner and 21-year-old Luke Sheppard launch a soulful affair. She's lost her mother to suicide, he's lost a football career to injury, and the decisions they make when Nadia becomes pregnant will reverberate throughout their lives, particularly complicating Nadia's close friendship with the devout Aubrey. Bennett has won numerous honors, notably the University of Michigan's Hopwood Award in Graduate Short Fiction.

[Page 48]. (c) Copyright 2016 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

LJ Reviews 2016 September #1

High school senior Nadia Turner is beautiful and smart, with an acceptance at a good college already in hand when she lapses into self-destructive behavior after her mother's unexplained suicide. She pursues Luke, the ne'er-do-well son of the pastor at the Upper Room, her family church at the center of an African American community outside Camp Pendleton, CA. When she becomes pregnant, Nadia decides to preserve her academic future and demands that Luke find the money for an abortion. The impact of her decision ripples beyond Luke and herself in the years ahead, to Nadia's pious best friend Aubrey, and throughout the entire church community. The eponymous Mothers are the Upper Room's elderly women's prayer group, who serve as the novel's Greek chorus; their collective voice provides an evenhanded but distanced moral view. VERDICT This debut novel has all the characteristics of new adult lit, with its college-age protagonists, complicated sexual relationships, and nimble story line, but making this easy categorization is selling it short. With its sophisticated, nuanced tone, it's a poignant tale of the hard decisions twentysomethings may face. [See Prepub Alert, 4/3/16; "Editors' Fall Picks," p. 29.]—Reba Leiding, emeritus, James Madison Univ. Lib., Harrisonburg, VA. Copyright 2016 Library Journal.

PW Reviews 2016 July #2

Bennett's brilliant, tumultuous debut novel is about a trio of young people coming of age under the shadow of harsh circumstances in a black community in Southern California. Deftly juggling multiple issues, Bennett addresses the subjects—abortion, infidelity, religious faith, and hypocrisy, race—head-on. At 17, Nadia Turner's life is topsy-turvy. Six months after learning of her mother's suicide, Nadia winds up pregnant and decides to abort the baby. The unborn baby's father, Luke—a preacher's son—gives Nadia the money to terminate but falls back on his promise to pick her up at the clinic after her appointment, causing a fissure in their relationship. Nadia's secret decision haunts her for decades—through college in Michigan, law school, and an extended trip back home to care for her ailing father. Meanwhile, the slow-to-build trust between Luke and Aubrey, Nadia's bible-thumping childhood best friend, who knows nothing of Nadia's past, is threatened when Nadia and Luke reunite and rip open old wounds after Luke and Aubrey's wedding. There's much blame to go around, and Bennett distributes it equally. But she also shows an extraordinary compassion for her flawed characters. A Greek chorus of narrating gossipy "Mothers" (as they're referred to in the text) from the local Upper Room Chapel provides further context and an extra layer to an already exquisitely developed story. Agent: Julia Kardon, Mary Evans Inc. (Oct.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2016 PWxyz LLC