You don't have to say you love me just be close at hand
You don't have to stay forever I will understand
What could be worse than unrequited love? Perhaps love that never had the chance to bloom in the first place...
What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It's the only thing that there's just too little of
Come hang out with us on Wednesday as we dive into a discussion of Sherman Alexie's You Don't Have to Say You Love Me. Yes, as you have pointed out, he has "mommy issues." (Was she a bad mother? Who does your heart ache for in this story?) And yet, there is so much more to discuss from the point of view of this urban Native American writer. Fitting that I finished the book on Indigenous Peoples' Day, only to overhear a man at the Cambridge Common playground complain over the phone to a friend that his son didn't have daycare because of the <insert sarcastic tone> holiday. Check out this Wikipedia timeline (scroll to bottom). The states of Minnesota and Vermont observe the holiday in place of Columbus Day. Other than that, it is a smattering of cities, a movement that began in Berkeley in 1992. Cambridge, MA joined the bandwagon in 2016.
Drop a line and let us know if we can hope to see you!
1. What do you make of the cover art and picture?
2. Patchwork quilt of memories -- does the repetitive format work?
3. What do you make of the intersection of his rez and urban identities?
4. What do you make of his "prose poetry" style? What works/doesn't?
5. On p. 339, he says, "I am the author of one of the most banned and challenged books in American history, and that makes me giddy with joy." -- which one??
6. Was she such a bad mother?
7. Why are we harsher on our mothers than our fathers?
8. He declares himself an atheist but then continues to return to religion -- is religion just a necessary trope when discussing relationships and death? Or is he actually struggling with belief?
9. What's true? Does it matter?
10. When was this written? So much recent history and revisions from his friends/readers and yet he just had brain surgery a year before publication!
11. Why a memoir now? Because his mom died? Or because he had brain surgery and feels his mortality?
12. Had you heard of Sherman Alexie before reading this book?
13. Parts of this were published in other places. How did he decide on the order of events/poems? He reintroduces characters/events -- intentionally? Like the rape story with different endings. Or unintentionally? Like "my friend Shelly Boyd" p. 398 who we already met 10 pages earlier?
14. He describes Indians not being able to band together -- too many tribes. Whites also come from many "tribes". Why is it that whites are able to band together? What makes generic white culture so pervasive? Or is that an illusion?
15. Just curious, but do Native Americans tend to take a certain stance on immigration policy?
Thank you so much for last night's discussion of You Don't Have to Say You Love Me by Sherman Alexie. It was so nice to hear so many people's thoughts even with such a large group.
For next month we will be reading Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. We also decided that we'd like to read a poem or short story for December. Send a note if you have any suggestions.
Thank you all again and see you next month!
The Tipsy Mamas' Book Club is co-hosted by Corinne Foster and myself, though the spirit of our discussions is flavored by many readers.