You Don't Have to Say You Love Me
A searing, deeply moving memoir about family, love, and loss from the critically acclaimed, bestselling National Book Award winner.When his mother passed away at the age of 78, Sherman Alexie responded the only way he knew how: he wrote. The result is this stunning memoir. Featuring 78 poems, 78 essays and intimate family photographs, Alexie shares raw, angry, funny, profane, tender memories of a childhood few can imagine--growing up dirt-poor on an Indian reservation, one of four children raised by alcoholic parents. Throughout, a portrait emerges of his mother as a beautiful, mercurial, abusive, intelligent, complicated woman. You Don't Have To Say You Love Me is a powerful account of a complicated relationship, an unflinching and unforgettable remembrance.

You Don't Have to Say You Love Me Details

TitleYou Don't Have to Say You Love Me
Author
FormatHardcover
ReleaseJun 13th, 2017
PublisherLittle, Brown and Company
ISBN031627075X
ISBN-139780316270755
Number of pages464 pages
Rating
GenreAutobiography, Memoir, Nonfiction, Poetry, Biography Memoir, Biography, Adult, Family, Writing, Essays, Humor, Funny, Native Americans

You Don't Have to Say You Love Me Review

  • Pamela
    February 8, 2017
    Reviewing an uncorrected Advance Reading Copy; the book will be on sale June 13, 2017.After his mother's death in 2015, Sherman Alexie worked through his complicated memories and emotions in the way he knows best: writing. This book is the result. In poetry and prose, he tells of growing up with a complicated, chaotic family with alcoholic parents, dangerous neighbors and relatives, cruel teachers and social workers. He is the "unreliable narrator of his own life."On nearly every other page, you Reviewing an uncorrected Advance Reading Copy; the book will be on sale June 13, 2017.After his mother's death in 2015, Sherman Alexie worked through his complicated memories and emotions in the way he knows best: writing. This book is the result. In poetry and prose, he tells of growing up with a complicated, chaotic family with alcoholic parents, dangerous neighbors and relatives, cruel teachers and social workers. He is the "unreliable narrator of his own life."On nearly every other page, you will come across a sentence or two that will make you pause to think, feel, muse. Some examples:"I was only seven years old when I first realized that my mother was powerless ... against whiteness in all its forms.""Am I dancing on my mother's grave? Of course, I am! Now shut up and listen to the song.""Because the dead only have the voices we give them.""I don't want to use their names here. Naming them gives them more respect than they deserve.""I vomited because I realized that we Indian kids ... had been treated like prisoners of war, We were guilty of the crime of being Indian.""I don't know how or when My grieving will end, but I'm always Relearning how to be human again."
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  • Emily Stearns
    March 15, 2017
    A curious, interesting, and enlightening memoir about mothers and reservations and emotions. Mixing prose & poetry, Alexie explores his messy maternal relationship while simultaneously exploring both of their histories - all non-linear but flowing oh so well regardless.I highly recommend this memoir for fans of Alexie, and anyone who has ever wondered at their own maternal relationship(s).
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  • Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
    May 15, 2017
    If you are a fan of Sherman Alexie, this is a book you need to read. It's a memoir of his life. It may surprise you to find out how much of his story in Part-time Indian is true. It may astonish you to discover that his story in Part-time Indian is not an atypical story for a person living on a reservation. It may motivate you to take action.
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  • lp
    March 29, 2017
    If you already love Sherman Alexie, you will love him even more after reading YOU DON'T HAVE TO SAY YOU LOVE ME. If you don't know you love him yet, you will. It's honest, raw, and so so funny. His stories are interspersed with poems. I didn't think I liked poems! I read these, thinking, 'oh my gosh do I love poems now?' Every anecdote has that classic Alexie flavor, even the simplest and tiniest moments shine brightly with his Coeur d'Alene, Choctaw background. I felt his pain and love for his If you already love Sherman Alexie, you will love him even more after reading YOU DON'T HAVE TO SAY YOU LOVE ME. If you don't know you love him yet, you will. It's honest, raw, and so so funny. His stories are interspersed with poems. I didn't think I liked poems! I read these, thinking, 'oh my gosh do I love poems now?' Every anecdote has that classic Alexie flavor, even the simplest and tiniest moments shine brightly with his Coeur d'Alene, Choctaw background. I felt his pain and love for his mother, his pride and shame. What a wonderful memoir. I wish every author was capable of doing something like this.
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  • Kelly
    May 16, 2017
    The level of vulnerability in this is incredible. If you love Alexie, you'll for sure what to read this. It's about grief and loss, both on the small scale and on the large.
  • Meghan
    May 8, 2017
    Describes things tragic and unendurable with humor and directness. Everyone should read this.
  • Elizabeth
    March 23, 2017
    The book of the year. Maybe the best memoir I've ever read. Just want to shout it from the rooftop--READ THIS BOOK!
  • jeremy
    May 21, 2017
    ...thank you,mother, for being my mother.thank you for your imperfect loveit almost worked. it mostly worked.or partly worked. it was almost enough. heartbreaking and beautiful. candid and sincere. revelatory and sorrowful. cathartic and expressive. eloquent and coarse. brave and amusing. tender and taut. i allowed my wife—who'd seen me naked and touched me thousands of times—to finally touch me in those places where i had hoarded so much of my pain and shame. as anyone who has read the many wo ...thank you,mother, for being my mother.thank you for your imperfect loveit almost worked. it mostly worked.or partly worked. it was almost enough. heartbreaking and beautiful. candid and sincere. revelatory and sorrowful. cathartic and expressive. eloquent and coarse. brave and amusing. tender and taut. i allowed my wife—who'd seen me naked and touched me thousands of times—to finally touch me in those places where i had hoarded so much of my pain and shame. as anyone who has read the many works of sherman alexie knows well, the spokane/coeur d'alene indian novelist, short story writer, poet, filmmaker, and performer is gifted with the lingual arts. his new memoir, you don't have to say you love me, contends with the past; an often fraught relationship with his mother, his drunken father, his siblings, life on the reservation, tribal relations, bullying, insecurity, poverty, racism, guilt, shame, hurt, vulnerability, courage, abuse, neglect, tragedy, perseverance, grief, death, loss. forthright, funny, and unflinchingly bold, alexie's memoir reads as much as a purge and self-cleansing as it does an autobiography crafted for his readers.playing foil to his poignancy, alexie's ribald sense of humor often leaves the reader crying on one page and laughing hysterically the next. the full range of human emotions, many expressed most vehemently, are on ample display within. told in both poetry and prose, you don't have to say you love me is a remarkable reckoning with the past and its often indelible legacy, and the fortitude necessary to triumph beyond it, further proving the national book award-winning author's talents are legion – however borne of pain and suffering. ah, friend, this world—this one universe—is already too expansive for me.when i die, let my mourners knowthat i shrugged at the possibilityof other universes. hire a choir—let them tell the truthbut tell it choral—let the assembled voices singabout my theology:i'm the fragile and finite mortalwho wanted no part of immortality.
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  • Andrew Barnes
    April 13, 2017
    While it goes without saying that an memoir is going to be introspective, Sherman Alexie strikes the perfect cord of affecting and playful. Alexie wants to show you his scars and force the reader to acknowledge their own, and in that way heal and somehow laugh together. Alexie is haunted by his mother, not feeling Indian enough, and the road not taken. He also is an unabashedly unreliable narrator whom acknowledges as much in his musing about his own story telling quarks (which was exasperated b While it goes without saying that an memoir is going to be introspective, Sherman Alexie strikes the perfect cord of affecting and playful. Alexie wants to show you his scars and force the reader to acknowledge their own, and in that way heal and somehow laugh together. Alexie is haunted by his mother, not feeling Indian enough, and the road not taken. He also is an unabashedly unreliable narrator whom acknowledges as much in his musing about his own story telling quarks (which was exasperated by numerous brain surgeries. Told in short vignettes and poems revolving around his late mother, a worthwhile read even for those whom may not be overly familiar with Alexie coming in. ---Thanks to NetGalley and publisher for free ecopy in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Allison
    May 8, 2017
    Sherman Alexie was raised on a reservation in Washington state and spent his childhood in poverty and abuse, along with his siblings, alcoholic father, and mentally ill mother. As a teenager he elected to go to a white high school off the reservation and as a child he also suffered from a serious brain illness which carried on into his adult life and the book details his recent surgery and recovery. To say his relationship with his mother was complicated is an understatement. But in true Sherman Sherman Alexie was raised on a reservation in Washington state and spent his childhood in poverty and abuse, along with his siblings, alcoholic father, and mentally ill mother. As a teenager he elected to go to a white high school off the reservation and as a child he also suffered from a serious brain illness which carried on into his adult life and the book details his recent surgery and recovery. To say his relationship with his mother was complicated is an understatement. But in true Sherman Alexie fashion, he relays his story in a unique and beautiful way through his own memories as well as talking to his surviving siblings. From writing about his unreliable memories of her, to relaying her stories, many of which he isn't sure are even true to expressing the deep grief he feels at her loss, Alexie gifts us with his heartbreaking and inspiring story. I'm an unabashed and avid fan of Alexie, having read all his work and enjoyed all of it. This memoir, written in part prose, part poetry does not disappoint.
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  • Teresa
    May 5, 2017
    Alexie delves into the complicated relationship between himself and this mother, and the emotions that lingered after her death. Their relationship was a filled with tears, fights, anger, songs, and just about everything in between. It was a relationship that was fluid, like so many relationships in our lives, and it was beautiful. This memoir alternates between chapters of prose and poetry (I had never read any Alexie poetry before this book) and I must say that it works brilliantly. I cried, I Alexie delves into the complicated relationship between himself and this mother, and the emotions that lingered after her death. Their relationship was a filled with tears, fights, anger, songs, and just about everything in between. It was a relationship that was fluid, like so many relationships in our lives, and it was beautiful. This memoir alternates between chapters of prose and poetry (I had never read any Alexie poetry before this book) and I must say that it works brilliantly. I cried, I laughed and I reflected throughout this book...and I am still reflecting several weeks later. Thanks to Hachette for the ARC!
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  • Mary Urban
    March 24, 2017
    In YOU DON’T HAVE TO SAY YOU LOVE ME, Sherman Alexie sets his soul on fire and then invites you to sit next to him to watch it burn. Elegantly executed and heartbreakingly honest.
  • Linda
    March 31, 2017
    Having just buried his mother, with whom he had a challenging relationship, Sherman Alexie presents a collection of poetry and prose reflecting on his childhood.
  • Leslie
    May 25, 2017
    "Fresh Air," May 24, 2017
  • Pamela
    April 22, 2017
    GAH! A belly laugh followed by a sucker punch. Alexie circles his pain, and then dives in, surfacing only to go deeper. This memoir is very brave.
  • Diane Payne
    April 24, 2017
    I didn't realize until now, reading the synopsis on GoodReads that there 78 poems & 78 essays for the memoir of Sherman's mother who died at 78. That may explain a bit of the repetition, that, and the fact Alexie tends to be repetitious. I've read all his books so many of the stories in this memoir were written in other books. Supposedly, this will be the more "true" version. Ha! Like his mother, a woman who he felt couldn't be trusted to tell the truth, Sherman likes to toy with truth. But, I didn't realize until now, reading the synopsis on GoodReads that there 78 poems & 78 essays for the memoir of Sherman's mother who died at 78. That may explain a bit of the repetition, that, and the fact Alexie tends to be repetitious. I've read all his books so many of the stories in this memoir were written in other books. Supposedly, this will be the more "true" version. Ha! Like his mother, a woman who he felt couldn't be trusted to tell the truth, Sherman likes to toy with truth. But, now, even as he searches for truth, he realizes how truth plays him. Did the seizures make him remember incorrectly? Did his nurse at the hospital tell him the truth about what happened under anesthesia? After all this questioning and circling to get to the bottom of truth, we realize the truth is different for everyone, and, in many ways, not the most important part of the story. As a writer,I kept thinking: yes, I should write about this. And, like Sherman, I know I already have, but that won't stop me. I'll just write about whatever differently. As a writer, there were times I wondered if the book (obviously I'm reading an ARC since it's not published yet) had been edited, and I'd wonder why he kept repeating the name of his mother or, toward the end, when trying to figure out who was raped and bore a child, and the writing would start the repetition, but now we hear another version, learn of another child of rape, and no matter where we are in the book, we are reminded about his endless grief.
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