This beautiful debut novel follows three young characters in an African-American community in Oceanside, Calif. They come together through a church that is ostensibly run by the church mothers, but who, in truth, represent the end of an era when manners and protocol shape behavior and choices.
The new generation is represented by the beautiful Aubrey, who is 17 at the beginning of this novel, and the older preacher’s son, Luke, who feel far less constrained by the norms that guide the church parishioners. The two are sweethearts and lovers. When Aubrey becomes pregnant, she makes the pragmatic choice to have an abortion.
Soon afterward, she becomes friends with Nadia, who is a church faithful but devoted to Aubrey. As the novel progresses, choices that have been made at early ages follow these characters in heartbreaking ways. As much as being about motherhood, it is also about loss of mothers, as is the case with Aubrey and Nadia, and the devastating effect that has on their lives. A beautiful book about friends and loss.
The Mothers. Riverhead Books/Penguin; ISBN 978-0-399-18452-9; $16.
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