Why Fathers Cry at Night: A Memoir in Love Poems, Recipes, Letters, and Remembrances
Kwame Alexander. Little, Brown, $28 (240p) ISBN 978-0-316-41722-8
In this heartfelt memoir, Newbery medalist Alexander (Rebound) churns on what he has learned—and is still learning—about love. He traces his model for romance to his parents, who taught him to “use his words,” but were rarely affectionate and lived apart for decades. He shares hard-won lessons from the painful dissolution of his own marriages and his grief not only for those relationships but also for the questions he became too afraid to ask his father after his mother's death. Finally, he turns to his daughters and confronts the difficulty of embracing solitude as they grow up and away from the family home. Interleaved through these reflections are sensuous memories of meals and music, from cracking a $250 beer with poet Nikki Giovanni to reverse engineering his mother’s fried chicken recipe after she died. Alexander observes that “we sometimes find poems in the strangest and most uncomfortable places,” and, indeed, this candid and courageous work finds poetry in places both ordinary and extraordinary. It’s a quiet triumph. Agent: Deneen Howell, Williams & Connolly. (May)
Correction: An earlier version of this review incorrectly stated that both of the author's parents are deceased.
Reviewed on: 03/21/2023
Compact Disc - 978-1-6686-3394-6
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-6686-1957-5