That Kind of Mother
by Alam, Rumaan

"That Kind of Mother dives deep into big questions about parenthood, adoption, and race: Is mothering something learned, or that you're born to? How far can good intentions stretch? And most of all, can love can really overcome the boundaries of race andclass? 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"-

*Starred Review* "Write what you know." This is one of the most common directives issued to writers, but Alam (Rich and Pretty, 2016) upends that old model in this quietly brilliant novel about motherhood, families, and race. Alam's protagonist, Rebecca Stone, unlike Alam, a gay man of Indian origin, is a white mother, yet his portrait is quite possibly the best peek at motherhood and its disorienting seesaw effects on a middle-class suburban woman that we have seen in a long while. Stone, the very definition of white privilege, is fumbling her way through motherhood when she makes an irrevocable, life-altering decision: to adopt a newly orphaned black baby. In narrating Rebecca's tale of gradual self-awareness, Alam's unerring yet unobtrusive eye asks uncomfortable questions: Can motherhood ever look beyond race? Can we learn to recognize the terrible blindness of our respective cultural perspectives? Even in seeking inspiration from Princess Diana, Rebecca proves to be an effective everywoman, quietly screaming at the cacophony that accompanies motherhood's "thematic repetitions," while trying to do right by her husband and her sons as she navigates the loaded landscape of parenting and race in America. A stunning accomplishment. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

This story about a white woman who adopts her black nanny's son burrows deep into issues of race, class, and the nature of family.Rebecca Stone is the attractive wife of a British diplomat, a talented poet, an admirer of Princess Diana (the book is set in the late 1980s and '90s), the sort of person who is equally adept at both attending and hosting parties. She lives in a tastefully decorated house in Washington, D.C.; wears designer clothes; drives a Volvo; cooks delicious, complex meals in her well-appointed kitchen. In short, she is, among other attributes, rich and pretty-which happens to be the title of Alam's well-received 2016 debut novel. With this, his second book, Alam further demonstrates his ability to write remarkably convincingly from a woman's perspective, credibly capturing even the particulars of childbirth and breast-feeding, not to mention the emotional challenges of balancing motherhood and fulfilling work. When we first meet Rebecca, she is about t o give birth to a son, Jacob, an event that leads to a connection with a hospital breast-feeding consultant named Priscilla Johnson, who will become Jacob's nanny. Rebecca is white; Priscilla is black. But their relationship is far more nuanced than those bare facts may lead you to expect, and their story plays out in unpredictable ways. When Priscilla dies unexpectedly in childbirth, Rebecca instinctively moves to adopt her newborn son, a decision that will change Rebecca's life, her family, and her view of the world. Here Alam proves he is a writer brave and empathetic enough not only to look at life from the perspective of another gender and era, but also to boldly dive in and explore controversial topics, posing questions about the way we treat one another and the challenges of overcoming preconceptions. Digging through to uncomfortable truths, he emerges squarely on the side of hope. With his second novel, Alam cements his status as that kind of writer: insightful, intr e pid, and truly impressive. Copyright Kirkus 2018 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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