Even though I had not yet read the book, I have heard overwhelmingly positive things about it, so I am confident that when I do get the opportunity to pick it up, I will love it.
Before we go any further, I am going to give you a little background info about the book…
A dazzling debut novel from an exciting new voice, The Mothers is a surprising story about young love, a big secret in a small community—and the things that ultimately haunt us most. 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.
It is the last season of high school life for Nadia Turner, a rebellious, grief-stricken, seventeen-year-old beauty. Mourning her own mother’s recent suicide, she takes up with the local pastor’s son. Luke Sheppard is twenty-one, 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
I was very happy to see a good turn out for this event. Unfortunately, many people do not appreciate a good author event as much as I do.
After Brit was introduced, she read a few passages from The Mothers. Since this was the Tuesday after the Super Bowl, she chose to read from Luke’s perspective, a former football start that suffered a serious injury. Once she finished her reading, Brit opened up the floor for questions from the audience. I was pleasantly surprised that so many people in the audience were willing to ask questions. This audience Q&A session lasted around 30-40 minutes.
I am really not sure how to organize the info from this Q&A session in a coherent manner, so here it is in bullet form…
» Brit Bennett wrote The Mothers while she was in college. She would work on this book during her summer vacations, so the book roughly took 7-8 years to write.
» Brit’s parents wanted her to pursue a more “practical” job.
» She knew the book was finished when she finally let some friends read it and they told her it was finished. If not for them, she would probably still be working on it.
» She feels encouraged by the diverse books movement, but she worries that people will treat it like a fad or trend.
» She had the opportunity to attend the National Book Award ceremony this past year and was thrilled with all the authors of color who won awards.
» She is not planning on writing a sequel to The Mothers, as she is emotionally finished with the story, but she would like to hide “Easter eggs” in her future works for her amusement.
» Publication has made her more self conscious while writing her next book.
» She doesn’t like to talk about what she is currently working on, but it is going to have something to do with twins living divergent lives. She is currently working on the first draft.
» Her favorite author is Toni Morrison.
» She has not experienced the loss of her mother, but she has always had a fear of losing her parents.
» The cover was designed by Rachel Willey. It was one of the last designs she created before going into the big meeting.
» While doing a photoshoot for her interview with Vogue, her photoshoot was disrupted by a bunch of people playing Pokémon Go in the park.
» She did not come up with the title of The Mothers. She claims she is terrible with coming up with book titles.
» She likes to walk to coffee shops to write.
» She listens to music to hype her self up to write, then likes to listen to soothing music while she is writing.
» She treats writing like a job, so she writes every day.
» She has sold the movie rights to The Mothers. It will be announced soon. She is currently trying to decide if she will write the screenplay or not.
After the Q&A session, Brit was more than happy to sign books and pose for pictures. In case anyone was wondering, my shirt says “Books Before Bros” and yes, I did receive many compliments on it. It was a gift from my bookish best friend, Nicole, who attended the event with me and wore her matching shirt. Don’t lie, you are totally jealous of our awesomeness.
About the Author:
Born and raised in Southern California, Brit Bennett graduated from Stanford University and later earned her MFA in fiction at the University of Michigan, where she won a Hopwood Award in Graduate Short Fiction as well as the 2014 Hurston/Wright Award for College Writers. Her work is featured in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Paris Review, and Jezebel.