We didn’t believe when we first heard because you know how church folk can gossip. Like the time we all though First John, our head usher, was messing around on his wife because Betty, the pastor’s secretary, caught him cozying up at brunch with another woman. A young, fashionable woman at that, one who switched her hips when she walked even though she had no business switching anything in front of a man married forty years. You could forgive a man for stepping out on his wife once, but to romance that young woman over buttered croissants at a sidewalk care? Now, that was a whole other thing. But before we could correct First John, he showed up at Upper Room Chapel that Sunday with his wife and the young, hip-switching woman – a great-niece visiting from Fort Worth – and that was that.
When we first head, we thought it might be that type of secret, although, we have to admit, it had felt different. Tasted different too. All good secrets have a taste before you tell them, and if we’d taken a moment to swish this one around our mouths, we might have noticed the sourness of an unripe secret, plucked too soon, stolen and passed round before its season. But we didn’t. We shared this sour secret, a secret that began the spring Nadia Turner got knocked up by the pastor’s son and went to the abortion clinic downtown to take care of it.
She was seventeen then. She lived with her father, a Marine, and without her mother, who had killed herself six months earlier. Since then, the girl had earned a wild reputation – she was young and scared and trying to hide her scared in her prettiness.
And so begins the provocative debut novel from an exciting new voice. The Mothers is a book about community and ambition, love and friendship, and living up to expectations in contemporary Black America.
It begins with a secret, then follows that secret through the lives of three different characters – from high school, into adulthood – tracing its impact far beyond their Southern California youth.
With her stunning first novel, Brit Bennet, just 26, demonstrates a moving understanding of the human landscape, the way that betrayals and losses accrue and swell and ultimately share whole communities.
The Mothers was named a most anticipated book of the fall by The Wall Street Journal, Buzzfeed, New York Magazine, Popsugar, The Boston Globe, The Millions and more.
“A brilliant, tumultuous debut novel…Bennett shows extraordinary compassion for her flawed characters… and exquisitely developed story.” Publisher’s Weekly
“Bennett’s writing is both wrenching a light. She deftly blends the complex and serious situations her characters face with innate humor and understanding in this deeply affecting coming of age story.”’ Booklist.