That Kind of Mother

A Novel
Narrated by: Vanessa Johansson
Length: 8 hrs and 12 mins
3 out of 5 stars (126 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From the celebrated author of Rich and Pretty, a novel about the families we fight to build and those we fight to keep.

Like many first-time mothers, Rebecca Stone finds herself both deeply in love with her newborn son and deeply overwhelmed. Struggling to juggle the demands of motherhood with her own aspirations and feeling utterly alone in the process, she reaches out to the only person at the hospital who offers her any real help - Priscilla Johnson - and begs her to come home with them as her son's nanny.

Priscilla's presence quickly does as much to shake up Rebecca's perception of the world as it does to stabilize her life. Rebecca is white, and Priscilla is black, and through their relationship, Rebecca finds herself confronting, for the first time, the blind spots of her own privilege. She feels profoundly connected to the woman who essentially taught her what it means to be a mother. When Priscilla dies unexpectedly in childbirth, Rebecca steps forward to adopt the baby. But she is unprepared for what it means to be a white mother with a black son. As she soon learns, navigating motherhood for her is a matter of learning how to raise two children whom she loves with equal ferocity, but whom the world is determined to treat differently.

Written with the warmth and psychological acuity that defined his debut, Rumaan Alam has crafted a remarkable novel about the lives we choose, and the lives that are chosen for us.

©2018 Rumaan Alam (P)2018 HarperAudio

Critic Reviews

"With his unerring eye for nuance and unsparing sense of irony, Rumaan Alam's second novel is both heartfelt and thought-provoking." (Celeste Ng, author of Little Fires Everywhere)

"Vanessa Johansson narrates this story of love, family, and modern society in a voice full of feeling. With warmth and wry humor, she personalizes Rebecca's difficulty in embracing motherhood....  A look at both modern motherhood and family, this is an unpredictable story told by an expert narrator." (AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Description is far off

I liked this story, but the description makes the racial component to be a major part, and it really isn’t. I was really disappointed that nothing ever really happens with this. If, however, you’re looking for a story about how parenting changes you, and how people navigate the circumstances of life in general, then it’s pretty good.

9 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Tiresome and disappointing

By the end of the book I no longer cared about the main character and there was no climax to the story. Unnecessary political commentary and some Christian bashing. I would not recommend it

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A mother’s tale

This book is a story about motherhood with a touch och gender and race discussions. The motherhood part is flawless, portraying pretty much every feeling, bias, hope, expectation and fears mothers go through. Rumaan Alam is not and will never be a mother, but he is a parent and he gets it. The power and subtleness of this story makes this a great read.

3 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Not what I thought it would be. At. All.

Poor narration, terribly boring story. Don't waste your time. I'm sorry I did.

I felt like the book description made it out to be a story about a white mom navigating parenthood and the world with an adopted black son. It should have said it wad about an angst- ridden, privileged white poet obsessed with Princess Diana. The white mom/black son story line was a cameo appearance compared to the main character's personal drama.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Ends in the middle which is no ending

Well written and kept my attention, but didn’t end with any answers to questions raised about relationships going forward. It was a life story just cut off in the middle. It seems frustrating that I don’t have any clue what happens to the characters.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Unsure

I'm not sure. I stopped reading Alam's first book, Rich and Pretty, because I didn't like the characters. I can't say that I really loved these characters either. I thought it was going to turn in to something so much better with the dynamic of an adopted son. But it didn't. Not really. Nothing was resolved or talked about. I don't know. I have no opinion.

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Thought-provoking

I cannot decide if this book is making fun of well-meaning white mothers or if it is just a portrait. I have decided that is what makes it so interesting, though. I will be thinking about this one for a long time.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Ok book

i didn't love this book, but it was a good read. I would read it again, to give it another try.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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still waiting...

A plot that could have resulted in a very impactful story never got anywhere close in my opinion.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Doesn't ring true

Narrator didn't capture some charactors' voices. Did not like the author's percetion of motherhood. Dark