Be omnivorous, don't just read one kind of book, read everything. - Richard Wagamese

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Review: You Don't Have To Say You Love Me by Sherman Alexie

"You're often going to be the only Indian in the room, so you'd better get used to it." 
-Sherman Alexie

Publisher: Little Brown and Company
Released: 2017
Pages: 457
Source: Library
Rating: 5/5

Goodreads Description:

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.

My Thoughts:

Sherman Alexie is an author that needs to be read and I need to read more of his books. His book The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian is one of the most banned booked. It's a book I can tell you when I first read, and where I was when I read it. It's still vividly in my mind. This memoir was just as impactful for me. While this book does deal with his relationship with his mother, we hear about his childhood, growing into an adult, and becoming a husband and father. 

 He grew up on a poor reservation, chose to go to school off the reservation, and lived essentially in two worlds. When Sherman Alexie starts to live a more urban life, he mentions "you're often going to be the only Indian in the room, so you'd better get used it it." He summed up my entire life, and it brought tears to my eyes. I realized that Diary of a Part Time Indian must have been based on his life. I hadn't realized this before. His relationship with his parent's were complicated. While his father was an alcoholic and his mother a recovered alcoholic, he had more resentment towards his mother. Grief can only be met when you're actually going through it, and it's interesting to see how he navigates through this phase of life. 

Both Sherman and his mother suffered from bipolar disorder and they clashed. Sherman was diagnosed, where his mother was left untreated. At one point they stopped talking, and Sherman can't remember why. That's just how their relationship went. They were alot alike in some ways and both stubborn. His mother was also a liar, who told different stories to different people.  The truth cannot be uncovered in her death. While this book is heartbreaking, you can feel the love and loyalty. He states that his mother would love to have known he wrote a book about her, even it it showed her in a darker light. The fact that it was about her, was all she needed.  Alexie's humor shines through and lightens the emotion. The blended poetry and prose is very well done. It's also very readable and relatable. I'm really happy that I read it, and will definitely reread it at some point. I would actually like to try the audiobook.


  1. I've read a couple of his books and really liked them but recently heard sexual harassment allegations in relation to him. I think I'll watch to see how they play out before I pick up more of his work.

    1. I hadn't heard about any allegations. I will have to look up what's going on.

  2. Thnx for dropping by!
    Awesome review, i've never heard of sherman before?
    Btw: Whats feedly? This is the first time I've seen it.

    1. Feedly is an RSS reader like Bloglovin. I prefer it over Bloglovin because I can customize it more.

  3. An homage, a memoir, a pack of lies, a revelation. Sherman mentions that he is sometimes asked what makes his writing "Indian"; it does not matter. He is himself: a genius thinker, emoter, poet, liar, storyteller, who spreads truth like uranium dust on the Spokane rez. You either love or hate him. Or you hate to love him or love to hate him. So glad he continues to crank out books that stun, amaze, confuse, amuse, provoke and joke. One of his best.

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