MLA Platinum Award Press Release

Reading guide for That Kind of Mother by Rumaan Alam

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

That Kind of Mother

by Rumaan Alam

That Kind of Mother by Rumaan Alam X
That Kind of Mother by Rumaan Alam
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    May 2018, 304 pages
    Feb 2019, 304 pages


  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Donna Chavez
Buy This Book

About this Book

Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide will contain spoilers!

1. Rebecca considers Priscilla both an employee and a friend. Do you think Priscilla would consider Rebecca a friend as well? In what ways does the power imbalance between them affect their relationship?

2. Priscilla helps other women adapt to the physical trials of new motherhood, but she suffers the most devastating consequences herself. What do you make of the connection between her work as a caregiver and her own medical misfortune? Are we meant to see her death as purely a tragic accident, or were there other factors that may have put her at risk?

3. Christopher and Rebecca worry that Andrew's biological father might interfere with their adoption, but their lawyer assures them that "there is not a judge in this state who is going to privilege the objections of a black man over those of a white woman." Does Rebecca accept this as a positive? What are the implications of this idea as she raises a black son?

4. The shadow of the AIDS crisis flickers throughout the novel. Though it feels distant from the main characters' lives, does it affect them in any way? Why might the author have chosen to include this topic?

5. Christopher relies on Rebecca to take care of the children and the household, while Ian and Cheryl seem to share domestic responsibilities. What does the book have to say about the role of fatherhood?

6. Christopher is shaken by the unethical dealings at his workplace. Do you think Christopher meets his moral obligations, at work and at home? Is he fair in saying that Rebecca is sheltered from real-world issues?

7. Princess Diana is evoked throughout the novel as a source of inspiration. What qualities does she represent, and why is Rebecca so drawn to her?

8. When Andrew's teacher raises concerns about his behavior at school, Rebecca implies that a white student would not be similarly chastised. Do you agree that Andrew was treated unfairly? Is Rebecca misguided in her attempts to make Andrew feel accepted and loved?

9. Neither Cheryl nor Rebecca seem to feel an obligation to contact Andrew's biological father. Do you agree with their decision to keep this piece of information a secret? Would it be in Andrew's best interest to know the truth, or not?

10. At the end of the book, Rebecca says in her award acceptance speech that the new millennium will offer a more fair and equal world. What do you think of the choice to end the book on this note?

Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Ecco. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Join Now!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    Delayed Rays of a Star
    by Amanda Lee Koe
    Amanda Lee Koe's Delayed Rays of a Star begins with a late-1920s photo of three women at a party in ...
  • Book Jacket: Sleepovers
    by Ashleigh Bryant Phillips
    In Ashleigh Bryant Phillips' debut story collection, Sleepovers, it can be difficult to keep tabs on...
  • Book Jacket
    The Beekeeper of Aleppo
    by Christy Lefteri
    In Christy Lefteri's sophomore novel, The Beekeeper of Aleppo, the author introduces readers to ...
  • Book Jacket
    by Carolina De Robertis
    Cantoras by Carolina De Robertis follows five characters who share a house, troubles, joys and parts...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Voyage of the Morning Light
    by Marina Endicott

    A sweeping novel set aboard a merchant ship sailing through the South Pacific in 1912.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Beekeeper of Aleppo
by Christy Lefteri

This moving, intimate, and beautifully written novel puts human faces on the Syrian war.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Of Bears and Ballots

An Alaskan Adventure in Small-Town Politics

A charming account of holding local office with an entertaining, quirky cast of characters.



Solve this clue:

A S Louder T W

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.