Sherman Alexie is one of my favorite authors--one of those authors you associate with a pivotal time in your life. My first introduction to him was many years ago when I was living far away from the Pacific Northwest and feeling completely lost. A dear friend wrote me a letter and included a photocopy of a story she had just read in The New Yorker. The story was called "Indian Country" and it was the best thing I had read in a long time.
I laughed and I cried and found common ground with the two women in the story because I happened to be experiencing some of the same things they were going through. I was not alone that day as I sat and read Alexie's words in the hot desert sun. The story also exposed the dysfunction and pain of one character's family, specifically her parents. Parents are tough. Having them and being them. There can be so much love, but with that there can also be a myriad of other things like pain, rejection, neglect and trauma.
Sherman Alexie's most recent book is a memoir about his mother who died in 2015 and it is called "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me." He was promoting the book earlier this summer and touring around the United States when he suddenly canceled the rest of his visits. He wrote an incredibly generous letter to his readers detailing what brought him to the decision to stop touring. There is no way I can capture what he wrote, but he expressed that he was depressed and still had grieving to do about his mother.
Mother-child relationships are the foundation of who we are. We would not have such an amazing body of literature at our fingertips without the connection (or lack of) that an author has to their mother or mothers. I highly encourage you to read Alexie's memoir or to read anything by Alexie. His memoir is quite popular and you can put it on hold here. Want to read an excellent mother memoir while you are waiting? Check out the list below.