That Kind of Mother – Review

Thank you Ecco Books for the gifting me a copy of this book to read and review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Children accept. It’s adults who struggle.” – That Kind of Mother, Rumaan Alam

The essence of this book revolves around motherhood of course. I’m not a mother but the synopsis made me curious, especially since the book is written by a male author. Rebecca, a somewhat well to do white woman, is a new mother, in 1985, navigates the reality of life after having her son Jacob. She’s captivated by the miracle of motherhood, but she’s also overwhelmed with the demands of being a mother as she pursues her career as a poet. Her husband, Christopher, older, has a prestigious job and is wealthy, so Rebecca is left to find her way through motherhood until she remembers Priscilla.

Priscilla, an African American woman, helped Rebecca with some of the fundamental aspects of motherhood when she was in the hospital after labor and delivery. When Rebecca hires Priscilla as her nanny, Rebecca finds motherhood more manageable, she befriends Priscilla (although she thinks it one-sided) although Rebecca doubts if the friendship, or relationship, is reciprocal. After all, Rebecca doesn’t know all that much about Priscilla, her life or her family. When Priscilla becomes pregnant and unexpectedly dies, Rebecca feels it her duty (and responsibility) to take care of Priscilla’s newborn son, Andrew, since Priscilla’s adult daughter is pregnant and has a newborn baby of hew own.

What ensues as Rebecca naturally becomes a mother to Jacob and now Andrew, has become quite an interesting experience, as many people look at Rebecca, white, and Andrew black with skeptism and wonder. The dymanic of everyone’s life changes and the book overall is about motherhood in some ways, the demands of day to day life, the rewards, challenges. Mothers, parents or that matter never stop being parents. They don’t get breaks, their roles as parents are their lives.

I wondered whole reading if Rebecca was suffering from depression. Sometime the tone of the book seemed to give the reader that impression, her relatives noticed a change in her but more than once Rebecca dismissed it. I’d hoped for something or that sort to surface or at least be discussed but it never came to fruition. Overall, not a bad book. I did find myself putting it down and coming back to it after some lengthy gaps but I did manage to finish.

Published by booksbythecup

Lover of good books and tea

5 thoughts on “That Kind of Mother – Review

  1. There are some parts that sound awfully cringe-worthy, such as an African American woman becoming a domestic for a white woman in 1985. It calls up images of the stereotypical “mammy” figure.

    This is the 3rd review I got from you in my inbox today! Is that a glitch, or are you just publishing a ton of posts?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t think of it that way, I tried to imagine the time period the author was depicting since I was a kid then myself. I didn’t get that “mammy” feel when reading it, I did get the feeling that Rebecca didn’t want to come across as stereotypical in her relationship with Priscilla, that she didn’t see her as the help but as a friend, although I’m not sure Priscilla viewed her as a friend, just an employer.

      It was odd for me that the author (male) was writing from the female perspective (especially in the beginning) but I tried to be open to it.


      1. Think about a movie like The Help. Even though some of the women become friends with their help, those women are still treated poorly everywhere they go, and are unable to raise their own children because they’re raising someone else’s.

        Liked by 1 person

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