Friday, May 11, 2018

2018 book 79

Rumaan Alam's That Kind of Mother
This is the kind of book where, the whole time you're reading, a voice in the back of your head is going "wooooow" for the writing, but also is terrified for the characters because everything feels so precarious. The story centers on Rebecca, a new mother in the 1980s, a white woman, who lures a kind and experienced La Leche consultant, Priscilla, away from the hospital to be her new nanny. And later on, Priscilla becomes pregnant--and dies in childbirth--and Rebecca adopts the baby--who is black. Alam touches on privilege (Rebecca is both white and wealthy, a poet), race and class issues, motherhood, and so many other important things, but never in a didactic way. The story is sometimes slow moving but not in a frustrating way--it feels lived in. It's also a trenchant look at our current political climate and maybe a blistering indictment of well-meaning white liberalism? There are a lot of layers to tease out here but this work is a tour de force. A slow burning scorcher of a novel. A.

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