Established in 2003, the All Iowa Reads program is one of the first projects to be provided by the Iowa Center for the Book. The purpose of All Iowa Reads is to foster a sense of unity through reading. Iowans statewide are encouraged to come together in their communities to read and talk about a single book title in the same year. The All Iowa Reads selection for 2020 is The Mothers by Brit Bennett.
It is the last season of high school life for Nadia Turner, a rebellious, grief-stricken, seventeen-year-old beauty. Mourning her own mother's recent suicide, she takes up with the local pastor's son. Luke Sheppard is twenty-one, a former football star whose injury has reduced him to waiting tables at a diner. They are young; it's not serious. But the pregnancy that results from this teen romance--and the subsequent cover-up--will have an impact that goes far beyond their youth. As Nadia hides her secret from everyone, including Aubrey, her God-fearing best friend, the years move quickly. Soon, Nadia, Luke, and Aubrey are full-fledged adults and still living in debt to the choices they made that one seaside summer, caught in a love triangle they must carefully maneuver, and dogged by the constant, nagging question: What if they had chosen differently? The possibilities of the road not taken are a relentless haunt.
In entrancing, lyrical prose, The Mothers asks whether a "what if" can be more powerful than an experience itself. If, as time passes, we must always live in servitude to the decisions of our younger selves, to the communities that have parented us, and to the decisions we make that shape our lives forever.
Books for the Contemporary Books Discussion Group are available for loan on a first-come basis at the previous month's meeting and, after that, at the Information Desk. Newcomers are always welcome. This program is funded by the Friends of the Bettendorf Public Library.