The Mothers

Brit Bennett

Fiction 2016 | 304 pages


Luke, the pastor's son, impregnates one teenage woman, and eventually marries her best friend.  These three characters form the foundation of The Mothers, while many of the older women in the Upper Room church (especially Luke’s mother) give their opinions and advice, gossip, and attempt to orchestrate the young people's lives.

It sounds like fun, as well as an in-depth coming-of-age story.  Unfortunately, it disappoints.  Somehow, I don't care much about Nadia, Aubrey, or Luke.  There is something about these characters that feels unreal.  Aubrey and Luke, with their purity rings, seem to be somewhat unthinking.  Nadia is the most interesting of the characters .... she becomes pregnant, she leaves Southern California to attend the University of Michigan, she spends many years attempting to process her mother's violent suicide.  And yet, I never find myself really cheering for her.

I think I may have unrealistic expectations, because I am so enamored by Bret’s later novel, The Vanishing Half.  In this case, the debut novel by an author does not reflect her real skill, in my opinion.

August 2022

2 responses on “The Mothers

  1. mary crawford

    I’ve read both books by this author. It’s been awhile since I read this and I don’t have my reading journal with me. My recollection is that I found the characters well-developed and the story engaging, even humorous at times. I liked this book more than The Vanishing Half. Both told stories about a culture and community I know little about and I appreciated this insight. I think Britt Bennett is a talented author.

    1. Andrea Sigetich Post author

      I just love this, when someone I love and respect has a different view on a book we both read! I am reconsidering my perspective on The Mothers, and noticing. Thank you, Mary, for your smart comments!