That Kind of Mother

That Kind of Mother

Series: Shannan's Backlist Picks
Tag: 2018 Summer Reading Guide
From the author of Rich and Pretty, a thought-provoking novel about parenthood, race, adoption. There’s a recurring Princess Diana motif in the book and I love that. The scene: late 1980s, Washington DC: diplomat’s wife Rebecca Stone has just given birth to her firstborn, and finds herself completely overwhelmed by the demands of new motherhood. Nurse Priscilla is the only person who soothes her anxieties, so much so that Rebecca persuades her to quit her job at the hospital to become her nanny. Rebecca is white; Priscilla is black—and their relationship opens Rebecca’s eyes to the comfortable truths of her own privilege. A few years later Priscilla’s own pregnancy ends in tragedy, and Rebecca steps forward to adopt Priscilla’s black baby. Her husband is baffled: is Rebecca really prepared for the realities of being a white woman with a black son? In this sensitive and sharply observed novel, Alam probes how far love and good intentions can go.
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About the Book

Publisher’s description:

NAMED A MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK OF 2018 BY Buzzfeed • The Boston Globe •  The Millions • InStyle • Southern Living • Vogue • Popsugar

“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

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.

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