Review: The Mothers by Brit Bennett
Choices are a tricky thing, for they are never made in a vacuum. One choice can affect both the person who makes it and those around them, imperceptibly cascading outwards in a myriad of ways. It’s much like the butterfly effect, when one single action triggers several other actions, which trigger several others, and so on. It is this idea that choices lead to unintended consequences that shapes the plot of The Mothers by Brit Bennett, but not necessarily in the way you would expect.
Nadia Turner is 17 with good grades, ambitious dreams, and a healthy dose of rebelliousness for a teenager. But things take a turn after her mother’s suicide, when she finds solace in the arms of Luke Sheppard, the son of a local pastor. Their relationship evolves quickly, and as with most first loves, the world around them falls away. But young love rarely maintains that first spark, and an unintended pregnancy leads to choices that will follow them for the rest of their lives.
Beautifully and delicately written, The Mothers will challenge your own beliefs and force you to question who deserves your sympathy. With each turn of the page, my loyalties shifted, and I was never quite sure who I was rooting for. It’s a wonderfully crafted story that is difficult to write (and, at times, to read), but Bennett skillfully pulls on every single one of your heartstrings and yet, you’ll thank her for it. There is no judgment in this book, nor are there any moral suppositions, and it’s surprisingly easy to cast aside your own feelings and see things through the eyes of the characters. But that’s all I’ll say because although I have since discovered many spoilers, I will not share those details here.
As the title implies, this is also a story about mothers – church mothers, Nadia’s mother, being a mother, lost mothers, wanting to be a mother, regretting motherhood, and more. But it’s also about fathers and daughters the loneliness that fills a home following the loss of a mother. Filled with secrets and stories of first and lost loves, this is a story that will stay with you for a long time after putting it down.