Sherman Alexie * Little, Brown & Co. * June 13, 2017 * 457 Pages
Sherman Alexie, author of popular books The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian and The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven wrote You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me as a way to process the death of his mother, Lillian, at age 78. His relationship with his mother is complicated. Lillian wasn’t the most likable person… But Alexie so beautifully reveals who his mother was—the good and the bad—that by the end of the book I felt like I knew her, understood her, and could even easily empathize with her.
The book is half poetry, half prose, and 450 pages of straight grief. It’s one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read, and I pretty much cried the whole way through. Alexie is honest and insightful—sometimes biting, but then also so full of grace and acceptance it’s heartbreaking. There is so much feeling in here. Just page after page of raw sadness and vulnerability. Alexie is able to cut the heaviness somewhat with humor, but this book is still a giant heap of SORROW.
In my opinion, You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me is the best book Alexie has ever written. It’s a roller coaster of emotion to be sure, but it’s definitely worth reading.