I am embarrassed for how long it took me to read You Don’t Have to Say You Love me by Sherman Alexie. I think I renewed it from the library 5 or 6 times! In my defense, other books with longer waiting times, like Becoming, took over.

Amazon Description: You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me

Family relationships are never simple. But Sherman Alexie’s bond with his mother Lillian was more complex than most. She plunged her family into chaos with a drinking habit, but shed her addiction when it was on the brink of costing her everything. She survived a violent past, but created an elaborate facade to hide the truth. She selflessly cared for strangers, but was often incapable of showering her children with the affection that they so desperately craved. She wanted a better life for her son, but it was only by leaving her behind that he could hope to achieve it. It’s these contradictions that made Lillian Alexie a beautiful, mercurial, abusive, intelligent, complicated, and very human woman.

My Review

I’m not going to lie, You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me was kind of depressing. Maybe that’s why it took me so long to read. Although much of the stories were sad, Sherman is a wonderful storyteller. He uses a mixture of one-paragraph stories, poems, and long chapters. The book was really lengthly (another reason it took me so long), but overall I really liked it!

I’m not sure how it originally got on my 2018 book list, but since I didn’t get to it last year, it made it on my 2019 book list. As sad as it was, I know I’ll be putting his other book, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian, on my 2020 book list.