Every once in a while, our book club strikes gold: absolutely everyone reads the book, and everyone loves the book. This month’s selection, The Mothers by Britt Bennett, was one such book. Actually, we all agreed it ranked as one of our favourite books for 2017 – great choice, Helen!
I’m sure you’ve noticed this book on the shelves at your local book store – with a bright, eye-catching cover, it’s hard to miss. And the inside of the book was just as captivating: from the very first page, until the last, we were hooked. Not only is there a compelling story line, but the book explores some thought-provoking themes, including: unplanned pregnancies and views on abortion; contemporary black American church communities; parent-child relationships; ambition; friendships; grief; and sexual abuse. I’m sure you’ll agree, these are pretty heavy topics – but the book didn’t feel heavy, in the way that some books can (such as A Little Life). This was an easy, enjoyable read.
When Nadia’s beautiful mother commits suicide, she leaves behind a grieving husband and daughter. Neither her family, nor the local church ladies, can make head nor tail of the reason for her suicide. Feeling lost and vulnerable, Nadia becomes romantically involved with the local pastor’s son, Luke – an attractive, talented sportsman. But their relationship ends abruptly, and Nadia moves away to college to pursue her dream of further education – something that was denied to her mother, when she became pregnant unexpectedly with Nadia. Before she leaves town, though, Nadia befriends an unlikely candidate – the very pious do-gooder, Aubrey.
And so, the book follows these three young people – Nadia, Luke and Aubrey – through the twists and turns of their late teens and early twenties, as they try to make sense of past traumas and construct new lives for themselves. Highly recommended!