Tuesday, February 7, 2017
Review: The Mothers
The Mothers has been the recipient of a lot of literary buzz this year, particularly because it is Brit Bennett's debut novel. The title refers not just to the mothers of our protagonists, who have let them down, kept information from them, and abandoned them. It also refers to a Greek chorus of sorts that is made up of the mothers and grandmothers of the church. These mothers ruminate on the joys and sorrows of their congregation, as well as the things they warned the younger generations about and the things that they failed to see.
In some ways, this is an examination of the ways our relationships change as we get older: we fall in or out of love, our friendships drift apart or become stronger, we find ourselves wanting to go back home often or never. I loved that one of the strongest parts of the novel was the friendship between Nadia and Audrey. We get to witness the unlikely beginning and see how both women make their friendship stronger and put other things before it.
This novel succeeds at being a book that is full of current issues, but is never defined by them. As a black girl, Nadia can't escape the reach of both racism and sexism as her family, her community, and the world at large are determined to interfere with her life and choices. Brit Bennett has written a wonderful novel on so many levels and I am thrilled as a reader that we have a lifetime of her work to look forward to.
By Brit Bennett
Riverhead Books October 2016
From the library