Author: Bryan Foreman
Genre: Coming of age
Year Published: 2023
“Nerdection Must Read”
Discovering Mom is a coming-of-age story about a young boy trying to find a place where he belongs. It takes you on quite the journey with plenty of highs and lows all the way until the end. You’ll be smiling with tears of happiness in your eyes toward the end of the novel!
Spoiler Free Plot
Daniel Bennet was adopted when he was a baby. He always wondered why he looked different than his family and siblings. When he was thirteen, his parents finally told him the truth. He was adopted and he was a mixed child. His mother was white and his father was a Native American from the Comanche Nation.
At first, Daniel was excited about the news. He delved into learning about his heritage and he took pride in knowing he came from a line of strong, noble warriors. But he wanted to meet his parents more than anything.
He was an outcast at school and frequently bullied other kids, but when he stood up for another student he finally made a friend. Jasmine was mixed like him, her mother was black and her father white. They could understand what it was like to not fit in because of their race in rural Oklahoma.
Over time, they formed a group with other outcasts called “The Nerds of the Rectangular Table” where they finally found a place they fit in.
But Daniel still felt like he was missing something. He needed to know about his birth parents. So, he set off on the adventure of a lifetime to find and meet his birth mother in person.
My Take on Discovering Mom
The story takes place over the span of one school year and over summer vacation. I thought the pacing was very nice and flowed well throughout the story.
One of my favorite themes of this story was tolerance. There were many times when Daniel, a thirteen-year-old boy who lives in rural Oklahoma in the 1970s, would encounter something different from him. Specifically, when it comes to racial differences, the beginning of the book has several instances where Daniel first encounters them with some bias. For example, when he finds out he is half Native America he is initially disturbed by the information. He had seen all of the Western films where the white Americans are portrayed as heroes and the Native Americans are vilified. But his adoptive father quickly corrected him and told him the truth. The more Daniel read into it, the more he valued the cultural differences.
Another example comes when a lesbian couple moves in across the street from the Bennets. Daniel doesn’t understand and he thinks that it’s weird. He doesn’t necessarily demonize them, but he isn’t shy about treating them differently. Toward the end of the novel, it shows how much he has grown. He makes great strides in understanding different identities and eventually comes to accept everyone.
Some Spoilers Below
One of the most interesting facets of this novel to me was when Daniel found his mother. I hadn’t at all expected the story to be taken where it was, and I was pleasantly surprised by it.
His mother used drugs heavily before Daniel was born, so she ended up signing guardianship over to his adoptive parents to give him a good life. Though, she still loved him even though she never knew him. To get clean, she joined a Christian commune called Lifespring. It is exactly as cult-like as it sounds and a lot of conflict arises during those chapters.
This was a quick, enlightening read that I would recommend to anyone. The characters were likable, for the most part, and the journey that was explored was fulfilling. The final chapter of the book that tied everything together definitely made me tear up!
Racism, homophobia, bullying, corporal punishment, mention of pedophilia (not shown), drug use, animal death, public humiliation, mention of sexual assault (not shown/implied)
About The Author Of Discovering Mom
BRYAN FOREMAN, a native of Oklahoma City, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in professional writing from Oklahoma University in Norman, Oklahoma. He has a strong passion for storytelling and is currently at work on his fifth novel, this one focusing on politics and the rise of American fascism.