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

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You Don't Have To Say You Love Me  by Alexie Sherman Release date: June 13th, 2017 Publisher: Little, Brown and Company 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. Alexie Sherman has written the screenplay for one of my favorite movies,  Smoke Signals, which is why I am always excited to pick up books written by him. I read a short story collection by him earlier this year and came across You Don't Have To Say You Love Me  kind of accidentally while looking for non-fiction books to read.  The synopsis sounded interesting so I bought the book as an ebook. I am happy I did so because while You Don't Have to Say You Love Me  is an interesting family story, it also taught me so much about things I already knew about as well as about things that I had no idea had taken place. I studied North American studies as a minor during my postgrad degree and did quite a bit of research on the representation of Native American individuals on film. Through that research, I got a chance to learn about something I had not really been introduced to within the Finnish education system.  "My parents sold blood for money to buy food. Poverty was our spirit animal." I believe it is not the job of a book like this or an author like Sherman Alexie to educate mainly white Americans about the issues relating to reservations and the treatment of the Native population. Rather, it is the job of the white reader to pick up a book like this and really think about the things Alexie writes about -- the violence, the abuse, the poverty, the hopelessness. And perhaps Alexie's tales of his family, the traditions of his tribe, and the complicated yet supporting ties that bind him to his reservation can inspire the reader to do more research, to know more about the history of the people that the white Americans have systematically attempted to vanquish for centuries.  You Don't Have To Say You Love Me  is very much centered around Alexie's difficult, conflicting relationship with his mother. As he writes about his mother, he ties his mother's story, and in essence his own, into stories about his reservation (Spokane Indian Reservation in eastern Washington), his ancestry, his life outside the reservation, and the history and the lives of the Native Americans in general.  By mixing short essays and poetry, Alexie paints a vivid picture of his childhood, his reservation and much more.  "Has there ever been a place in the United States where a poor Native woman and her kids could be truly safe?" "She was female, poor, indigeous, bright, Commodified, hunted, and tape-measured. She survived one hundred deaths before she died, But was never thrilled by her endangered life."  One of the aspects I really appreciated about this novel is the way in which Alexie writes about Native women like her mother and her sisters. He discusses the dangers in which women often find themselves from within the reservations and the violence and abuse they have to endure in their daily lives. While Alexie's relationship with his mother might have not been the easiest at times, the way he writes about his highlights  the love and respect he must have had for her.  Alexie also discusses Trump and I think quotation from his book tells everything you need to know about his opinion (I completely agree with Alexie, btw!): "In 2016, white conservatives elected as president a serial liar who is likely the most fearful and paranoid and wildly insecure white man who has ever run for the office. And those white folks elected him because they believe they are victims. Yes, I am Spokane Indian -- an indigenous American -- who grew up with white folks who think this country is being stole from them." At times, You Don't Have To Say You Love Me  is difficult to read due to the subject matters it discusses such as rape, alcoholism, and abuse. Despite that, the book feels pretty much like essential reading, because it made me realize how incredibly privileged I am -- unlike the majority of people living on reservations like the Spokane Indian Reservation Alexie writes about, I didn't have to grow up and deal with issues like alcoholism and abuse on daily basis.  "When people consider the meaning of genocide, they might only think of corpses being pushed into mass graves. But a person can be genocided -- can have every connection to his past severed -- and live to be an old man whose rib cage is a haunted house built around his heart. I know this because I once sat in a room and listened to dozens of Indian men desperately trying to speak louder than their howling, howling, howling, howling ghosts." As mentioned, I read this from a position of privilege. For someone who does not hold that privilege the experience of reading this will definitely be different and affect the reader in a different way. Whatever your position as a reader is, I highly recommend picking this one up and seeing how it will affect you as a reader.  Rating:

Avainsanat: 13th 2016 2017 across angry animal author award beatiful blood book bought bright brown built by cage collection company country daily deal despite difficult education essential ever experience female fiction film finnish food four funny general grow history house idea imagine incredibly individual intelligent it job kids knew learn like live iives loss mass me men mother movie moving national need north office old parents passed people person pick picture poor population portrait president publisher rather rating raw relationship release research result screenplay she speak spirit stories subject synopsis tape they truly trump united whatever who whose winner within woman women write you non-fiction nonfiction review