The Death of My Father the Pope: A Memoir

Obed Silva. MCD, $27 (304p) ISBN 978-0-374-53916-0
Silva braids the story of his father’s death with tales of his own tumultuous life growing up between the United States and Mexico in his poignant debut. His father was an alcoholic who died at age 48 due to liver failure, a tragic ending that, to Silva, seemed inevitable. Though the death felt expected, Silva’s anger and grief during the funeral did not. He recalls how his complex relationship with his father—who was “sometimes a sinner and sometimes a saint”—was saturated with love, abuse, and neglect: “He loved us in the way that only a sick man can love anybody: indelicately.” With bluntness and dark humor, he reflects on the addictions and abuses that addled his childhood as he shuttled back and forth between his divorced parents’ homes, from his mother’s house in California to his father’s in Chihuahua, Mexico—as well as his own dependencies on painkillers and cocaine as an adult. Silva also mourns places as much as people, creating a dynamic character out of his father’s home and extended family in Chihuahua, where the “ever-polluting and sardine-packed piñata buses... [were] undoubtedly bad for the lungs, but good for the spirit.” This lyrical memoir offers an indelible look at the complicated ways grief, family, and addiction can intertwine. (Dec.)
Reviewed on : 09/10/2021
Release date: 12/07/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-1-250-85890-0
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