You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me: A Memoir

Sherman Alexie. Little, Brown, $28 (432p) ISBN 978-0-316-27075-5
Intense but unspoken feeling suffuses the bittersweet relationship between a mother and her son in this poignant, conflicted, raucous memoir of a Native American family. Novelist and poet Alexie (The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian) remembers his complicated mother, Lillian, who kept the family together despite dire poverty on the Spokane Reservation but had a contentious relationship with her son featuring bitter fights and years-long silent treatments. He sets their story against a rich account of their close-knit but floridly dysfunctional family and a reservation community rife with joblessness, alcoholism and drug abuse, fatal car crashes, violence, rape and child molestation, murder, and a general sense of being excluded from and besieged by white society. Alexie treats this sometimes bleak material with a graceful touch, never shying away from deep emotions but also sharing wry humor and a warm regard for Native culture and spirituality. The text is rambling, digressive, and sometimes baggy, with dozens of his poems sprinkled in; it wanders among limpid, conversational prose, bawdy comic turns, and lyrical, incantatory verse. This is a fine homage to the vexed process of growing up that vividly conveys how family roots continue to bind even after they seem to have been severed. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/03/2017
Release date: 06/13/2017
Compact Disc - 978-1-4789-1281-1
Hardcover - 624 pages - 978-0-316-39677-6
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-0-316-27076-2
Compact Disc - 978-1-4789-7291-4
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-4789-9408-4
Paperback - 464 pages - 978-0-316-27074-8
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