A few people have recommended The Mothers by Brit Bennett to me recently, and after I wrote about The Turner House, and Kendra mentioned it again, I quickly put it on my library reserve list. I read it within a week, which is a record pace for me at this particular point in my life. I was immediately swept into the story and the secret that is carried throughout the book.
Stepping out a bit from the story, what I thought about the most as I read and after I finished reading, was the idea of this collective community – a village of sorts – involved in the raising of three children into adulthood. Is a secret ever really a secret in this sort of community? “The Mothers” speak occasionally throughout the book as a singular voice; observers of the young, but not actively engaged in their raising. (But perfectly free to discuss their observations – and opinions – amongst themselves.) The literal mothers of the three are complicated as well – choosing to exit their children’s lives prematurely, physically or emotionally, but influencing them still through their absence or withdrawal.
I’m drawn to stories with characters that are simultaneously intimately connected and distantly estranged. The weaving of their stories are powerful and compelling, and in the case of this book, often heartbreaking.
I’m excited to read more of Bennett’s work. What an incredible debut novel.