That Kind of Mother

That Kind of Mother

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.

Title:That Kind of Mother
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9780062667601
Format Type:

About Rumaan Alam

My stories have appeared in StoryQuarterly, Crazyhorse, Meridian, and elsewhere. I've written on design and other subjects for the Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine, and other places. I studied writing at Oberlin College. Now I live in New York with my husband and two kids. I am very good at building things out of Legos and making overly-complicated dinners.


    That Kind of Mother Reviews

  • Celeste Ng

    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, ca...

  • Angela M

    Setting this aside . May come back to it at another time . Just not connecting . ...

  • Jennifer Blankfein

    Rebecca Stone desperately needs help with her newborn and Pricilla, a La Leche nurse from the hospital comes to her rescue. Pricilla, having mothering experience herself as she was a single, teen mom ...

  • karen

    my new quarterly literary fiction box from pagehabit has arrived!! better get cracking! ...

  • Naima Coster

    I read THAT KIND OF MOTHER because I was intrigued primarily by the situation the book would examine: an interracial family made by adoption, a relationship between two women across lines of race and ...

  • Ellen Gail

    Have I read this yet? No.Has Penny snuggled with it? Yes. And it was adorable. May this book be as good as the kitty snuggling it....

  • Tess

    I wanted to love this. And while it is excellently written, line by line, I became increasingly frustrated and annoyed as the novel wore on with the characters and in many ways, the plot itself, which...

  • Emily

    2.5 starsI didn’t pick this book up to read about a privileged white woman who never really addressed her privileged whiteness. ...

  • Ginger

    I would give this six stars if I could. Excellent writing, excellent story....

  • Ella McCrystle

    It is so much harder to review things I like. I just noticed that most of my favorite books from this year's reading are left without reviews - that's because when I like something, I often can't tell...