In Brit Bennett’s debut novel, The Mothers, all types of mothers and nearly-mothers abound. There are the novel’s two main characters, daughters and childhood friends, Nadia and Aubrey. Nadia left their small Southern California town at 17, after having an abortion, to go to college, while her friend Aubrey stayed behind to marry Nadia’s ex-boyfriend, writes Constance Grady. And then there are their own mothers: Nadia’s, who killed herself, and Aubrey’s, who abandoned her children for an abusive boyfriend.
“In this book, motherhood and the absence of motherhood are each a painful, vicious wound.”
The strength of the story connecting all these “ambivalent mother figures” resides “in the emotional underpinnings of each character, and Bennett’s lively, precise voice,” Grady says.
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