That Kind of Mother
NAMED A RECOMMENDED BOOK OF 2018 BY:
Buzzfeed • The Boston Globe • The Millions • InStyle • Southern Living • Vogue • Popsugar • Kirkus • The Washington Post • Library Journal • Real Simple • NPR
“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 bestselling author of Leave the World Behind, 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.
Praise For That Kind of Mother: A Novel…
— Washington Post
“That Kind of Mother’s greatest triumph is its insistence on complicating the rescue narrative of transracial adoption without resorting to dogmatic indictments of its characters….the novel also reveals the extent to which Alam is attuned to the concerns and candor of women.”
— The Atlantic
“Laced with humor and remarkably rich in detail…thrills in its attention to nuance…Alam’s generous rendering rings authentic.”
— Entertainment Weekly
“Alam’s second novel, about two families brought together by the death of a beloved nanny, expertly and intrepidly blends topics of the zeitgeist, including race, privilege, and motherhood, without sacrificing elegant prose and signature wit.”
“Coming off his celebrated debut Rich and Pretty, Rumaan Alam’s sophomore novel returns to themes of family and culture in a powerful tale of a white mother raising a black son.”
— Entertainment Weekly
“[Alam’s] is a voice we want to read on just about every issue. In this novel, the issues he addresses are parenting, race, class, and privilege, and he explores these fraught topics with his trademark wit and sensitivity, never pandering or veering into cliche.”
— Nylon Magazine
“From [a] heartbreaking premise, Alam plumbs still more heartbreaking questions about the power and limitations of maternal love, and the implacable persistence of racial divides.”
— Huffington Post
“Alam explores questions [of race, class, and privilege] with exquisite tenderness, palpable detail, and excruciating empathy.”
— Marie Claire
“If you want something smart, relevant, and compassionate…pitch-perfect…quite special.”
“One of the glories of this novel, as it tracks Rebecca through 1999, is its compassionate exploration of individuals reaching across racial and class divides to create family.”
Ecco, 9780062667601, 304pp.
Publication Date: May 8, 2018
About the Author
Rumaan Alam is the author of the novels Rich and Pretty, That Kind of Mother, and the instant New York Times bestseller Leave the World Behind. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, New York Magazine, The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, Bookforum, and the New Republic, where he is a contributing editor. He studied writing at Oberlin College and lives in New York with his family.