You Don't Have to Say You Love Me
A MemoirBook - 2017
From Library Staff
A powerful memoir of writer Sherman Alexie's early life on the Spokane Indian Reservation and the devastating impacts of racism on his family relationships.
Seattle_Quick_Picks Nov 14, 2017
Recommended by Mychal.
Through prose and poetry, Alexie grieves his mother’s death, considers her complicated legacy in his life and on the Spokane Indian Reservation, and reflects on his journey as a writer.
As one of our librarians wrote, Alexie "grieves loudly, clearly, honestly and with courageous vulnerability" in this memoir about his complex relationship with his mother and the Spokane reservation on which he grew up.
From the critics
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We, the bipolar mother and her bipolar son, fought so often that all of the arguments blended into a terrifying yet predictable ride. My mother and I were roller-coasters on parallel tracks.
In 2015, as my mother lay dying of cancer in her reservation home, she asked my sisters and I to tell only her most trusted friends and relatives...My mother was a spy who treated her own death like a top secret-mission. Or maybe she was like a mad queen who believed only a few of her most loyal subjects deserved to know about her cancer. Or maybe she was terrified.
At her wake and funeral, … I'd wanted to say something epic and honest. But epics are rarely honest, and honesty should never be epic.
But as her son and as perhaps her most regular opponent, I remember only a little bit of my mother's kindness and almost everything about her coldness.
"There are family mysteries I cannot solve. There are family mysteries I am unwilling to solve."
Ah, friend, this world-this one universe-
Is already too expansive for me.
When I die, let my mourners know
That I shrugged at the possibility
Of other universes. Hire a choir-
Let them tell the truth
But tell it choral-
Let the assembled voices sing
About my theology:
I'm the fragile and finite mortal
Who wanted no part of immortality.
But a person can be genocided-can have every connection to his past severed- and live to be an old man whose rib cage is a haunted house built around his heart.
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