A Black father makes amends with his gay son through letters written on his deathbed in this wise and penetrating novel of empathy and forgiveness, for fans of Ta-Nehisi Coates, Robert Jones Jr. and Alice Walker
As Jacob lies dying, he begins to write a letter to his only son, Isaac. They have not met or spoken in many years, and there are things that Isaac must know. Stories about his ancestral legacy in rural Arkansas that extend back to slavery. Secrets from Jacob's tumultuous relationship with Isaac's mother and the shame he carries from the dissolution of their family. Tragedies that informed Jacob's role as a father and his reaction to Isaac's being gay.
But most of all, Jacob must share with Isaac the unspoken truths that reside in his heart. He must give voice to the trauma that Isaac has inherited. And he must create a space for the two to find peace.
With piercing insight and profound empathy, acclaimed author Daniel Black illuminates the lived experiences of Black fathers and queer sons, offering an authentic and ultimately hopeful portrait of reckoning and reconciliation. Spare as it is sweeping, poetic as it is compulsively readable, Don't Cry for Me is a monumental novel about one family grappling with love's hard edges and the unexpected places where hope and healing take flight.
The Sexy Nerd's Review
Every February, I treat myself to reading African-American authors and I was pleasantly surprised to learn that one of my favorite prolific writers, Daniel Black, has a new novel out. OMG, I immediately downloaded the Kindle version and didn’t even look at the price because Black’s books are worth every single cent spent! Without further ado. . .
Jacob Swinton came up in an era where men were men and women were women. There wasn’t an in between. You did what your parents told you to do and you certainly didn’t question the order of life. Men and women married and had children. Women took care of the household while the men worked and brought home the bacon. This held especially true for Jacob having lost his mother at an early age and living with his eldest brother and grandparents who raised him. Granddaddy Swinton didn’t take no mess. Everyone in the household had their role and chores to do and working in the field and farming the land was what Jacob knew how to do. Being lazy in those days wasn’t an option.
As time marched on, Jacob learned some hard lessons. Nothing in this life is promised, as was the case with his grandmother passing and his big brother. This left Jacob and his Granddaddy to take care of things. Death hadn’t changed anything for Jacob. He was still expected to work and now take on the job of cooking and cleaning. When Jacob approached his late teens, he met and fell in love with a girl named Rachel. She was the most beautiful specimen he had seen and he knew right then and there, she was going to be his wife. Life was strange in that way. It lent much foresight to the young man. But what he couldn’t see is how his vision of one day having the ‘perfect’ family would turn out to actually be.
Jacob learned that not only was life strange, but God had jokes and he wasn’t laughing. As he’s lying on his death bed reflecting back on his life with his wife, Rachel, and his only son, Isaac, he begins writing the most important story to ever be told—his story and how he came to be the person he was. Jacob wanted to leave his mark and his family’s legacy on paper so that his son would know where he came from and hopefully to where he would one day go. There’s something to be said about a man dying and thinking back on his mistakes in being a human being, a father, a husband, a son, a grandson, and a brother. Was he perfect? Not by any means which is why his relationship was so strained with Isaac. Unfortunately, for Jacob, he loved his son, but not the lifestyle in which Isaac chose. His son robbed him, or so he believed, of having a father son relationship that all alpha males dreamt of. Because Isaac was gay, it drove Jacob literally insane, until he begins writing his life story out to his son in the form of a letter with Lady Death sitting by his side waiting on him to finish so she could guide him into the next world. Readers, this is where you will really delve deep into Jacob's life story and all his faults, mistakes, loves and loss. Simply amazing!
If you’ve never read any books by Daniel Black, I encourage you to do so. What a true honor it is to feast your eyes upon his flow of words. I’ve read every book he’s written and this latest novel is poetry in motion at every level. Black’s words weave their way into the very depths of your soul mesmerizing your inner being and captivating you with its essence. The journey Jacob takes us on is one that most people will be able to relate and recognize a little bit of yourself in his story. This was so eloquently told as all of Daniel Black’s bodies of work is.
The Sexy Nerd gives Don’t Cry For Me five extra boxes of tissues to sop up the tears because this story is most definitely going to make you weep. Weeping is a soul crying. Crying tears is just a release of pent up energy. At least that’s how I view it. Black’s words awaken the soul and there aren’t many authors with the ability to do that. You are in for such a rare treat to your mind. OMG! What an incredible story indeed! Please purchase this book and get to reading. It’s not very long and you can probably finish it in a day. Once you get into it, you’ll not want to put it down. That’s for sure!
Until next time, Nerds, you know what to do!