You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me: A Memoir by Sherman Alexie [in Library Journal]
With his uniquely sing-songy cadence, almost-chuckles, and uncontainable tears, Sherman 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 lifesaving 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.