The Mothers - Brit Bennett


I'm in America again!! This means that I will basically live at Barnes and Nobles for six weeks and in my first few days, I've already found some amazing new releases. I started reading The Mothers first, because I heard so many positive things about it. Even though usually books don't live up to their hype, this is one novel that I couldn't put down and I am so happy that Brit Bennett's story is out there.

The Mothers is the story of three African American teenagers growing up in California. Nadia Turner's mother recently committed suicide and Nadia is figuring out how to to deal with that while also deciding about her future and what to do after high school. She meets Luke, who is twenty-one and was a talented football player who had to retire because of an injury. He is the son of the local pastor and is waiting tables while trying to find a new dream. Another fixture in the church is Aubrey, who one day just wandered into the town looking for salvation. She lives with her sister and hides a traumatising past. 

As the title suggests, this is a book about mothers, but on more levels than I ever thought possible. It is clearly about Nadia's mother, who committed suicide for reasons no one seems to know. It is about Aubrey's mother, who is far from ideal and has put her child in some very harmful situations. It's about Luke's mother, who is a role model for the whole community and wants her son to be one too. However, it is not just that simple. Motherhood comes in many forms in this novel. Without spoiling it for any future readers, every single event that unfolds shows that motherhood is more complex than most people ever hold possible.

Besides a very strong theme, this is also just a very strong story. Nadia, Aubrey and Luke are all realistic characters with their own struggle who intertwine and relate on many unexpected novels. It's a story about growing up, and more specifically growing up African American in a society where your choices can be limited by your race. Just like Ruby, this book was an eye-opener for me to the specific challenges that seem so far from mine as a white European. This book doesn't lecture, this book shows and makes you feel everything every single character is feeling, even though it might be completely unknown to you before this story.

The writing is absolutely beautiful with every character having a distinct voice that transports you easily into their head. While I usually dislike changing perspectives, Brit Bennett does it so effortlessly that it makes the story only better.

No review will do this book justice, because it is an emotional story that stays with you long after you finished it. This isn't just about reading, this is about experiencing and I won't be able to stop recommending this book for a very long time.