About the author
Brit Bennett was born in California. She graduated from Stanford University. He has a master's degree in fiction writing from the University of Michigan. He is the winner of several awards for literature. Mothers is her debut novel.
About the book
It all starts with a secret…
Nadia is a seventeen-year-old beauty who is grieving her mother's recent suicide. To forget her grief, she starts dating the local pastor's son. Luke is a 21-year-old former soccer star who, after a serious injury, starts working as a waiter. They are young and their relationship is not serious, but the subsequent pregnancy and its termination have consequences that will transcend their years. Nadia finds comfort in her friendship with Aubrey, who has also lost her mother, but in a very different way. Both keep their secrets in hopes of hiding from them.
Soon, Nadia, Luke, and Aubrey grow up, but continue to live in the shadow of the decisions they made that fateful summer. After a while, they fall into a love triangle. The three must be careful to avoid the crushing question: What if we had done things differently?
The stunning debut novel The Mothers is a surprising story of unreasonable love, a big secret in a small community, and the past that always haunts us.
– What are you doing here? – asked him.
“I work here,” he explained, then laughed, but his laugh sounded hard, like a chair scraping the floor. – How do you drive her?
Luke didn't look at her, flipping through his notebook, and Nadia knew he'd heard about her mother.
– I'm hungry - I answered him.
– Is that how you drive her? Hungry?
– Can I order some Racheian snacks?
– Better not. He guided her finger down the laminated menu to the nachos. - Here. Try this.
His hand gently wrapped around hers as if teaching her how to read and moving her finger along unfamiliar words. It always made her feel incredibly young, like two days later when she returned to the sector he served and ordered a Margarita. Luke laughed and tipped her fake ID towards him.
– Come on! – he exclaimed. - Aren't you about twelve?
She narrowed her eyes.
– Oh, fuck you – I answered him. – I'm seventeen.
But she had said it a little too proudly and he laughed again. Even eighteen-which he wouldn't turn until late August-would have seemed small to him. She was still in high school. Luke was twenty-one and had already gone to college, a real university, not the community college where everyone idled around for a few months after graduating before finding a job. Nadia had applied to five universities, and while she waited to hear back, she asked Luke questions about college life, like whether the dorm showers were really as gross as she imagined, and whether people really put socks on their doorknobs when they wanted privacy. He told her about group runs in underwear and foam partying, how to maximize your meal plan, how to get extra time on tests by pretending you had a learning disability. She knew things, and she knew girls, college girls, girls who wore heels to class, not sneakers, and carried handbags instead of backpacks, and summer interned at Calcom or California Bank & Trust instead of preparing juices on the pier. She imagined herself in college, one of those fancy girls, Luke would drive to see her, or if she was studying out of state, fly over to visit her over spring break. He would have laughed if he knew how Nadia envisioned him in her life. He often made fun of her, like when he started doing his homework in Fat Charlie's.
“Bray,” he exclaimed once, flipping through her math notebook. – You're crazy.
She wasn't really, but learning was easy for her. (Her mother used to pick her up for it-must be good, she'd say when Nadia brought home an A on a test she'd studied for only the night before.) She thought her advanced classes might scare Luke away, but he loved it, that she is smart. “See that girl over there? he said to a passing waiter. “She's going to be the first black woman president, just you wait.” Every black girl who was even remotely gifted heard that. But she liked hearing Luke screw up, and she liked it even more when he teased her about her studies. he treated her like everyone else at school, who either pulled away from her or spoke to her as if she were some fragile creature that could be broken by a careless word.
One evening in February, Luke drove her to her house and she invited him inside. Her father had gone to a Men's Advance meeting for the weekend, so the house was dark and quiet when they arrived. She wanted to offer Luke a drink-that's what the women in the movies did, handing the man a square glass filled with something dark and masculine-but the moonlight reflected off the glass cabinets emptied of alcohol, and Luke pressed her against the wall and kissed her …