The Mothers

A Novel
Narrated by: Adenrele Ojo
Length: 9 hrs and 55 mins
4.2 out of 5 stars (1,034 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER 

“Bittersweet, sexy, morally fraught.” (The New York Times Book Review)

"Luminous… engrossing and poignant, this is one not to miss." (People, Pick of the Week) 

"Fantastic… a book that feels alive on the page." (The Washington Post)

The beloved New York Times best-selling novel about young love and a big secret in a small community, from the author of The Vanishing Half

Set within a contemporary Black community in Southern California, Brit Bennett's mesmerizing first novel is an emotionally perceptive story about community, love, and ambition. It begins with a secret. 

"All good secrets have a taste before you tell them, and if we'd taken a moment to swish this one around our mouths, we might have noticed the sourness of an unripe secret, plucked too soon, stolen and passed around before its season." 

It is the last season of high school life for Nadia Turner, a rebellious, grief-stricken, 17-year-old beauty. Mourning her own mother's recent suicide, she takes up with the local pastor's son. Luke Sheppard is 21, a former football star whose injury has reduced him to waiting tables at a diner. They are young; it's not serious. But the pregnancy that results from this teen romance - and the subsequent cover-up - will have an impact that goes far beyond their youth. As Nadia hides her secret from everyone, including Aubrey, her God-fearing best friend, the years move quickly. Soon, Nadia, Luke, and Aubrey are full-fledged adults and still living in debt to the choices they made that one seaside summer, caught in a love triangle they must carefully maneuver, and dogged by the constant, nagging question: What if they had chosen differently? The possibilities of the road not taken are a relentless haunt. 

In entrancing, lyrical prose, The Mothers asks whether a "what if" can be more powerful than an experience itself. If, as time passes, we must always live in servitude to the decisions of our younger selves, to the communities that have parented us, and to the decisions we make that shape our lives forever. 

©2016 Brit Bennett (P)2016 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"Brit Bennett is the real thing. The Mothers is a stellar novel - moving, thoughtful. Stunning. I couldn't put it down. I'm so excited to have this brilliant new voice in the world." (Jacqueline Woodson, National Book Award-winning author of Brown Girl Dreaming and Another Brooklyn)
"Brit Bennett's The Mothers is a brilliant exploration of friendship, desire, inheritance, the love we seek, and the love we settle for. It is the kind of book that from its first page seduces you into knowing that the heartbreak coming will be worth it." (Danielle Evans, author of Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self)
"Brit Bennett is so bracingly talented on the page... [ The Mothers is] astute and absorbing and urgent." (Jezebel)

"Brit Bennett's absorbing debut novel, set in Southern California's Black community, gets a sensitive narration by Adenrele Ojo... Ojo's voice is smooth as honey and prickly as thistles when portraying the gossipy mothers who relentlessly poke at the secret until nothing remains hidden." (AudioFile)

Featured Article: Great Listens from African American Authors


Contemporary Fiction. Mystery & Thriller. Sci-Fi. Fantasy. Horror. Talented Black authors stand out in all the major categories. To help inspire your search for some of the most essential Black voices writing fiction today, here are three outstanding African American authors in each of five categories, with 15 must-listens from today’s most acclaimed and top-selling African American authors. You can decide which audiobook you might want to check out first.

What listeners say about The Mothers

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • 06-26-19

anti abortion message dampens the enjoyment

First of all, the prose is lyrical and beautiful, and the narration is solemn and coy. These are interlocking charactef storylines whivh are realistic and at times overbearingly spiritual. it speaks to a subculture that is dying as previous earlier generations leave this plane of existence. That said, the anti-abortion sentiment leaks throughout. Consistently, it is associated with shame, regret, and wondering of what could have been . . . it is referred to as a sin over and over, and the character who chooses reproductive freedom is ostracized from her community and family. Because of this, I am not sure I can recommend this book in good faith because I feel that too much of popular culture ferishizes and celebrates what is a alreqdy a heavy private decision. It is too easy to portray this aspect of abortion and many many many times the author felt it necessary to repeat these sentinents in an unnecessary way. The book is beautiful and ugly simultaneously, but in attempting to portray the nuances, the author relies too much on the negative aspects.

5 people found this helpful

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Great story!

Great story about innonence, regrets and life coming full circle. Great addition to my audible collection!

4 people found this helpful

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anti-choice propaganda

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

it should come it a warning. it is for the anti-choice public only...and one that heavily leans misogynistic at that

Has The Mothers turned you off from other books in this genre?

no

How could the performance have been better?

by not implying the the life of a successful, well traveled female lawyer life would have been better if she stayed behind with her looser drunk boyfriend

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

no, no redeeming qualities. how can one prescribe the idea of dismissing academic and career success that elevates one above their conditions. horrible message for girls. that hard work ans success will not give you happiness... only babies can do that. ouch!!!!

Any additional comments?

I kept listening the book thinking, that the story would turn around, surely... it did not.

14 people found this helpful

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Disappointed

This book is nothing but pro life propaganda. If I had known this I would not have wasted my time and listened to this book. It is a good thing that I read The Vanishing Half first because that book was excellent. This book is a total waste of time. However the narration was very good.

3 people found this helpful

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Great book

I was able to relate to so much in this book. great voice and writing.

3 people found this helpful

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Preachy Cautionary Tale about Abortion

While the story was engaging enough, ultimately it was too preachy for me. The chapters start with church mothers talking but honestly those sections detracted rather than added to the story. The characters weren't really believable to me. I didn't care for the way the reader over enunciated words. In sum, I just didn't like this book

11 people found this helpful

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Lacks understanding, depth and compassion

Would you try another book from Brit Bennett and/or Adenrele Ojo?

I would absolutely not try another book by the author.

Has The Mothers turned you off from other books in this genre?

No.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

The reading was fine.

Any additional comments?

This book failed to capture any real nuance, understanding or compassion for the main character. There are already enough voices projecting onto women how they feel or ought to feel about abortion, especially by people who have never faced the decision themselves. Unfortunately now there is one more. The writing wasn't anything special. Lots of attempts at illuminating analogies that fell flat.

9 people found this helpful

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Like Looking in a Mirror

The book is beautiful in a tragic, train-wreck-you-can’t-look-away-from sort of way. Listening to this book felt like exactly what it feels like to grow up as a Christian-adjacent woman. I’m not a black woman, but I strongly suspect Ojo got that feeling exactly right too. I was saddened by my own life while listening to the character’s lives play out before me. It makes me want to assign this book to men in Feminist Studies classes in college.

2 people found this helpful

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meh

interesting and engaging story. but felt it was emotionally manipulative and had an anti-choice agenda.

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  • 01-24-19

An amazing story that takes you on a ride

I loved this story and this audio book! The author took me on an emotional roller coaster of a girl growing into a woman, the mistakes she makes, the relationships she develops, and the acceptance of the life and choices she has lived.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Shamane Lee McKnight
  • 04-19-20

Amazing Book

Such an amazing book, looking forward to Brit Bennett's next release this summer. I have both listened and read this book and would highly recommend to all.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Molooeee
  • 09-15-20

Abortion thread felt pro-life and 1-dimensional

This story turns out to be about how an abortion unravels an entire community and I wasn’t expecting that as a contemporary arch. Having LOVED The Vanishing Half, this felt very different

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  • Candy
  • 08-15-20

Spoilt by the narrator!

On the whole I enjoyed this book, I liked the concepts it explored and the story it told. However, it was completely ruined for me by the narrator reading most of it as if to a five-year-old.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-09-20

engaging story

enjoyed listening to this story . loved the ending characters face heartening life challenges successfully

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  • miss kishma samuel
  • 07-15-20

loved it

i loved it. such a love story between generations and different types of love. Was captivated from the first chapter until the last.

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  • Amy
  • 10-16-17

somewhat boring, which could be it's brilliance.

not much exciting happened, if it was a physical book, I may not have finished.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-20-17

Great start...poor ending

Really enjoyed the first three quarters did not l8ke the ending...it could have been so much more. All through the book I had felt connected to the characters but did not feel the ending gave enough insight into their feelings and thoughts about the decisions and choices that they made in the end.

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  • Tracey
  • 05-11-17

Not for me

Just couldn't get into this book.
The reviews were great and was ready for the journey but unfortunately I could not persist.