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That Kind of Mother Paperback – 19 February 2019

3.5 out of 5 stars 167 ratings

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Product description


"Alam explores questions [of race, class, and privilege] with exquisite tenderness, palpable detail, and excruciating empathy."--Marie Claire

"That Kind of Mother is a thought-provoking story about what happens when a beloved nanny dies, leaving her own child motherless. Exploring themes of race, privilege, and family, Alam's second novel will leave you thinking about it long after finishing."--Popsugar

"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...Alam cements his status as that kind of writer: insightful, intrepid, and truly impressive."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Quietly brilliant...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?.... A stunning accomplishment."--Booklist (starred review)

""Absorbing... Alam poses important questions about race, privilege, and the nature of family"--Boston Globe

"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

"Incisive...Alam skillfully tackles issues of race and parenthood...The novel offers a memorable depiction of a mother's journey as her children grow and her marriage collapses."--Publishers Weekly

"Laced with humor and remarkably rich in detail...thrills in its attention to nuance...Alam's generous rendering rings authentic."--Entertainment Weekly

" outstanding depiction of motherhood and cross-racial adoption...The tensions of privilege and identity are brilliantly set against the backdrop of wealthy American cities, and Alam's pacing is phenomenal...An astonishing book."--Washington Post

"Mothers were big at the box office in 2017 (think: Lady Bird, mother!, I, Tonya). Rumaan Alam promises the same return on investment with his second novel."--In Style

"Complex and absorbing."

"I read That Kind of Mother slowly, to savor it... [it] is a novel that is also a way of helping contemporary readers with our current silences and fraught dialogues."--The Millions

"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

"[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

"[A]n exploration of race, class, and power -- as well as a fascinating look at the evolution of one woman's mind over decades. Alam is uniquely well-suited to write this story of adoption."

"A rich, complex, beautifully observed story about the collision of class, race and family. Motherhood is an overwhelming and joyful job and this book takes on the minutia of that domestic sphere with quiet, but incendiary power."--Stephanie Powell Watts, author of No One is Coming to Save Us

"Alam details Rebecca's transforming journey of motherhood and interracial adoption with delightful irony. Boundaries of family and friendship expand in this thought-provoking read, revealing universal truths about parenting."--Christian Science Monitor

"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."

"Alam's sharp narrative asides--lines like "Some percentage of the things she did for the children were actually for her"--carry such weight and truth that we trust his route toward the bigger question of the book: are we ever ready for the pain and joy that life delivers."--The Millions

"Dives deep into big questions about parenthood, adoption, and race...With his unerring eye for nuance and unsparing sense of irony, Rumaan Alam's second novel is both heartfelt and thought-provoking."--Celeste Ng

"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

"If you want something smart, relevant, and compassionate...pitch-perfect...quite special."--LitHub

"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."

"This gorgeous book calls into question all our assumptions - about family and tribe, race and loyalty, privilege and paucity. Brave, sharp and empathetic, Rumaan Alam shows us motherhood as I've never seen it: at once a quotidian labor and a radical and transformative excavation of the self."--Danzy Senna, author of New People

"This is a thought-provoking story about family, race, and the bond between mothers."--Bookish

From the Back Cover

It's 1985, and like many first-time mothers, Rebecca Stone finds herself equally overwhelmed and overjoyed by her newborn son. Struggling to balance the demands of new motherhood, Rebecca leans on Priscilla, the family nanny, who brings much-needed order to the household even as she shakes Rebecca's perception of the world. As questions of race enter Rebecca's cloistered life for the first time, she has the opportunity to finally confront the blind spots of her own privilege.

Rebecca feels so profoundly connected to the woman who has taught her what it means to be a mother that when Priscilla dies unexpectedly in childbirth, it seems strangely natural for Rebecca to step 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 will be a matter of learning how to raise two children whom she loves with equal ferocity, but whom the world is determined to treat differently.

With the same warmth and psychological acuity that defined his debut, Rumaan Alam has crafted a remarkable novel about the families we fight to build and those we fight to keep.

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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Ecco Press; Reprint edition (19 February 2019)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 304 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0062667610
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0062667618
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 13.49 x 1.73 x 20.32 cm
  • Customer Reviews:
    3.5 out of 5 stars 167 ratings

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C. Peterson
1.0 out of 5 stars Weak central plot, lots of missed opportunities
Reviewed in the United States on 9 June 2018
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Denelle Bryant
1.0 out of 5 stars I will never get back the time I spent trying to convince myself this was a worthwhile read.
Reviewed in the United States on 27 June 2018
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1.0 out of 5 stars Hard Pass
Reviewed in the United States on 15 June 2018
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DawgFan NC
3.0 out of 5 stars Missing something
Reviewed in the United States on 14 August 2018
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Sandra Waters customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Food For Thought
Reviewed in the United States on 27 June 2018
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