A review by nothingforpomegranted
The Mothers, by Brit Bennett

emotional reflective sad tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


Six months after the gruesome suicide of her mother, Nadia is processing her grief by isolating herself from her friends, her church, her father, instead finding comfort in the sensation of anonymous bodies pressing against hers and imbibing alcohol. Secretly, she develops a relationship with the pastor's son, Luke, who was recently forced to abandon his college football career due to a debilitating injury. When Nadia becomes pregnant, she is wrenched back into reality, considering her conceptions of motherhood and what it means to love and be loved. Nadia slowly develops a friendship with born-again church girl Aubrey, and it is fascinating to watch her deliberate her actions and exhibit greater empathy over the course of the novel. 

The first-person plural narration by "the mothers," the female church elders, establishes a sense of nostalgia and spirituality in the novel, and I loved all of their gossipy interjections. Bennett demonstrates a mastery of description, adding details about each character without getting bogged down in adjectives, and every character comes to life on the page. The development of the plot was predictable, yet still engaging with an overarching intrigue that propelled the story forward even when not much was happening at all.

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