Cover image for You don't have to say you love me : a memoir
Title:
You don't have to say you love me : a memoir

You do not have to say you love me
Title:
You don't have to say you love me : a memoir
Edition:
First edition.
Publisher Info:
New York : Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc., [2017]
Physical Description:
457 pages ; 25 cm
Abstract:
Presents a literary memoir of poems, essays, and intimate family photos that reflect on the author's complicated relationship with his mother and his disadvantaged childhood on a Native American reservation.
Personal Subject:

Available:*

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B ALEXIE New or Popular Book Adult Nonfiction
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Summary

Summary


The Instant New York Times Bestseller
Shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction

A searing, deeply moving memoir about family, love, loss, and forgiveness from the critically acclaimed, bestselling National Book Award-winning author of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian .

Family relationships are never simple. But Sherman Alexie's bond with his mother Lillian was more complex than most. She plunged her family into chaos with a drinking habit, but shed her addiction when it was on the brink of costing her everything. She survived a violent past, but created an elaborate facade to hide the truth. She selflessly cared for strangers, but was often incapable of showering her children with the affection that they so desperately craved. She wanted a better life for her son, but it was only by leaving her behind that he could hope to achieve it. It's these contradictions that made Lillian Alexie a beautiful, mercurial, abusive, intelligent, complicated, and very human woman.

When she passed away, the incongruities that defined his mother shook Sherman and his remembrance of her. Grappling with the haunting ghosts of the past in the wake of loss, he responded the only way he knew how: he wrote. The result is a stunning memoir filled with raw, angry, funny, profane, tender memories of a childhood few can imagine, much less survive. An unflinching and unforgettable remembrance, YOU DON'T HAVE TO SAY YOU LOVE ME is a powerful, deeply felt account of a complicated relationship. One of the most anticipated books of 2017-- Entertainment Weekly and Bustle


Author Notes

Sherman J. Alexie Jr. was born on October 7, 1966. His mother was Spokane Indian and his father was Coeur d'Alene Indian. Alexie grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Wellpinit, Washington. He decided to attend high school off the reservation where he knew he would get a better education. He was the only Indian at the school, and excelled academically as well as in sports. After high school, he attended Gonzaga University for two years before transferring to Washington State University, where he graduated with a degree in American studies. He received the Washington State Arts Commission Poetry Fellowship in 1991 and the National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellowship in 1992.

His collections of poetry included The Business of Fancydancing, First Indian on the Moon, The Summer of Black Widows, One Stick Song, and Face. His first collection of short stories, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, received a PEN/Hemingway Award for Best First Book of Fiction and a Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Writers' Award. His other short story collections included The Toughest Indian in the World, Ten Little Indians, and War Dances. His first novel, Reservation Blues, received the Before Columbus Foundation's American Book Award and the Murray Morgan Prize. His other novels included Indian Killer, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, and Flight. He won the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction in 2018 for You Don't Have to Say You Love Me: A Memoir.

Alexie and Jim Boyd, a Colville Indian, collaborated on the album Reservation Blues, which contains the songs from the book of the same name. In 1997, Alexie collaborated with Chris Eyre, a Cheyenne/Arapaho Indian, on a film project inspired by Alexie's work, This is What it Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona, from the short story collection The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven. Smoke Signals debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in January 1998, winning two awards: the Audience Award and the Filmmakers Trophy. In 1999 the film received a Christopher Award.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

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) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Alexie is a consummate, unnerving, and funny storyteller, no matter what form his tales take. From his 13 poetry collections, including What I've Stolen, What I've Earned (2014), to his many works of fiction, among them the children's book, Thunder Boy Jr. (2016), and Blasphemy: New and Selected Stories (2012), Alexie's writings are veined with autobiography and Native American life and history. He now presents his first all-out memoir, a profoundly candid union of prose and poetry catalyzed by the recent death of his Spokane Indian mother, Lillian, one of the last to speak their tribal language, a legendary quilter, and a fighter to the end. Alexie's deeply delving remembrance expresses a snarl of conflicting emotions, ranging from anger to awe, and reveals many tragic dangers and traumas of reservation life, from the uranium dust generated by nearby mines, which caused Lillian's lung cancer, to the malignant legacy of genocide: identity crises, poverty, alcoholism, and violence, especially rape, in which the epically wounded . . . turned their rage on each other. Alexie chronicles his own suffering as a boy born hydrocephalic and an adult diagnosed as bipolar, and tracks his flight from the rez and his life as a writer, pouring himself into every molten word. Courageous, anguished, grateful, and hilarious, this is an enlightening and resounding eulogy and self-portrait. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Best-selling and critically acclaimed Alexie attracts diverse and avid readers, and all will be reaching for this confiding and concussive memoir.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2017 Booklist


Library Journal Review

With his uniquely sing-songy cadence, almost-chuckles, and uncontainable tears, Alexie (The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian) gives a raw, superb performance. No one else could have narrated the stories of his difficult youth, his life-saving education, his struggles between familial obligations and leaving the Spokane Indian Reservation, the losses he faced and the gains he made to become "one of the Indians with the most social power," both lauded and criticized. His mother's 2015 death prompted Alexie to examine their complicated relationship. He bares his "spectacular show of hypocrisy," admitting he "spent [his] literary career writing loving odes to my drunken and unreliable father" while bypassing his "dependable...industrious" mother. Through poems, -vignettes, memories (some his, some belonging to others), Alexie delivers a book both "healing and wounding." Alexie's -latest will resonate with substantial audiences. VERDICT As the author abruptly paused his extensive book tour to "do most of [his] grieving in private," libraries will want to be even more prepared to meet demand in multiple formats. ["Alexie's portrayals of family relationships, identity, and grief have the universality of great literature": LJ 4/15/17 starred review of the Little, Brown hc.]-Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon, -Washington, DC © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.