Cover Image: Don't Cry for Me

Don't Cry for Me

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Member Reviews

A fictional memoir written in letters from father to son, these heartbreaking stories will fill you with hope and make you reconsider your relationship with an estranged father, and their compacity for love and forgiveness.
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Daniel Black has created stunning works of fiction. I especially loved Perfect Peace. 
This book moved me emotionally and read as if I was in a poem. It was an important story and I hope others will read this.
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This is likely the best book I've read in years.  On the surface, it is a story of a man coming to terms with his son's life, but in reality, it is so much more.  
Based on the author's reflections of own relationship with his father, this is a fictional  journal written by Jacob for his son Isaac, explaining his family and life history, and in doing so, also explaining why coming to terms with Isaac's homosexuality had been so difficult.  Throughout the book, Jacob tells Isaac of his upbringing, sharing stories of pride, of expectations, of shame, and in the end, lessons of growth, learning and trying to understand not only his son, but also a the society as it has changed throughout Jacob's life.  Throughout the entire story, there is an underlying plea from Jacob to be understood as well.
I would recommend this book to absolutely anyone.  Older generations would easily relate to Jacob, as the entire book is a conversation which many wish they could have with the younger generations.  The story is good for younger generations as well, as it sheds light and understanding of what history and society has expected in the past, how it has evolved, and has shaped the older generation into who they are.  
I received an advanced digital ready copy of this book.  Thank you to NetGalley, Harlequin Trade Publishing, Hanover Square Press, and Daniel Black.
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This book was amazing. I coudn't put it down. It was magical. Higly recommended! The characters, the plots, the writting: wonderful and perfect.
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This was a heavy read. This book is written in letters/diary entries from a father to his gay son. It's rare to read from the perspective of someone who struggles to accept their gay child. It was interesting to learn about this character's thoughts and feelings, even though I didn't agree with them 100% of the time.
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While it took me a while to adjust to the format (epistolary, which does take me a bit), once I made it about a quarter through, I was invested. The story is complex and human and heartbreaking, but it's also uplifting and hopeful in a way that makes you sympathize with how prideful people can be and the ways they hurt the people around them. The narrator is clearly flawed (which he openly admits many times), but he is also layered and understands that life isn't black and white. One thing I enjoyed about this was also how short the chapters/letters were, because the content was heavy and often required taking breaks in between. Highly recommend.
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I feel that there are other individuals who have spoken of this book better than I ever could. It is a powerful, heartbreaking work about growth and how hard that process can be. A must read, just tread lightly if you're an easy crier like I am.

**I received an eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Big thanks to NetGalley and the publisher!
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Very powerfully told, this is the story of a black man who lived in rural south and moved north when he grew up. Raised by his grandma and grandpa, he thought being a man meant other family members were under his control. It wasn’t until his divorce and his estrangement from his gay son, along with cancer than made him turn inward and start looking at his own behaviors as causes for what happened to him. A friend gave him a copy of a Toni Morrison book to read, and it got him reading many more books about the black experience. But in the end, although he wanted to reunite with his son, he felt the damage been done and it was a useless gesture. A sad conclusion to the book filled with letters Jacob wrote to his son.
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Written in the form of letters that make up chapters, Don't Cry for Me is a father's love letter to the son he rejected for not meeting the standard of manhood he set for him. Within the letters, the father explores the examples of what black men were supposed to look like, what they were to do, how they were to live, how they were to express themselves and how they were to interact with others.

In writing the letters, the father tells the history of their family and how he was raised by his grandparents, how he met his son's mother and how he saw their father & son relationship. At times he seems to seek redemption and at others he makes no apologies for his ways. But as his letter writing continues over the course a few months, we see the father's thinking evolve in some facets, but not all. My only regret is that the reader doesn't have a chance to find out how the letters are received by the son or if the father ever sends them.

I absolutely loved this book. I've long been a fan of Daniel Black's writing so I was excited to see he was releasing a new book. It was well worth the wait.
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This was a very moving novel that showed the growth of a man who realized his shortcomings. It mad it even more realistic that it didn't have a fairy tale ending.
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Death came to Jacob. 
Jacob told death, he needed more time, and so she waits, she waits while Jacob pens a letter to his son. 
Filled with regrets over decisions made and missed opportunities to make amends, Jacobs letter is haunting and his story will stay with you.
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A heart-wrenching story following the complex and persevering relationship between a father a son, as the reader follows along in hopes of seeing them make it to the other side.
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DON’T CRY FOR ME is a poignant, unforgettable epistolary novel. The book contains a series of letters from a Black father on his deathbed addressed to his gay, estranged son. The father details his own past, family history, confessions, and tries to explain why he had such a hard time accepting his son’s sexuality. Through these heartbreaking letters, Black explores trauma, masculinity, race, and parenting. Between the captivating epistolary format and Black’s lyrical prose, this bittersweet novel about love and forgiveness blew me away.
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“If you get nothing else from this letter, understand that I never knew how to love. I dreamed of it, but I never experienced it. What I knew was pain. So that’s what I gave you. I’d never seen a black life free from it, so my job as a father, I assumed, was to prepare your back for the load. I hope that, after you read this, you’ll return my pain to me.”

DON’T CRY FOR ME is an epistolary novel, told from the perspective of a dying Black father writing to his queer son. The father, Jacob, starts with his own childhood, the stories he recalls of his ancestors, and moves forward through his son Isaac’s childhood until Jacob is diagnosed with cancer. Throughout we see the messages Jacob was taught about masculinity, the rigidity that was imposed on him for his survival as a Black man in a white supremacist society, and how he tried to pass that along to his son - out of love for him, but which resulted in great pain. It’s a beautiful, gut-wrenching story of intergenerational trauma, showing generosity to and providing context for Jacob’s perspective while unflinchingly revealing the harms caused by his actions. In the author’s note, Black explains how he was moved to write this story when his own father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and he realized the reckoning he’d long hoped for with his father would never come. He wrote this book for himself and his father but also for other Black fathers and sons, and you can feel that intentionality in the universal quality to this book. An incredibly powerful story of one man’s reckoning with himself. Thank you to Hanover Square Press for the review copy!

From the author’s note: “If they’d been allowed to dream, they might’ve expected sons who were not carbon copies of themselves. They might’ve imagined boys in all their glory, dancing before the world without shame. They might’ve granted a queer son permission and affirmation to be himself—regardless of the world’s reaction. They might’ve known that some spirits come into the world to disrupt normalcy and thereby create space for the despised and rejected. And they might’ve understood, finally, that every son is an eternal blessing. If they’d been allowed to dream.”

Content warnings: racism, slavery, bullying, sexual assault/rape, death of a loved one, child neglect, alcohol addiction, intimate partner violence
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Jacob is dying and there are things he wants his son Isaac, who he hasn't spoken to in many years, to know. Through letters he shares stories about his ancestral legacy in rural Arkansas that extends back to slavery, secrets from Jacob's tumultuous relationship with Isaac's mother and the shame he carries from the dissolution of their family and tragedies that informed Jacob's role as a father and his reaction to Isaac's being gay. These letters take us on an exploration of a father's tumultuous and traumatic past that made him the man that he is today. Jacob leaves everything out on the table, hoping his son Isaac will find it in him to forgive him for his hurtful actions and words.

I was pulled into this book's exploration of a father struggling to accept his gay son, failing to be a better parental figure, and being too late to make amends. Despite the heavy subjects, the book was a surprisingly easy and quick read because of the casual writing style. It made me reflect on my years of parenting and how my upbringing affected my decisions, thus enabling me to see Jacob's story in a somewhat understanding way. Seeing how Jacob just struggled to survive shines a light on his life and roles of husband and father. I liked gaining insight into this man’s life, where I could experience his regrets and loneliness over the years. I think just about anyone can relate to this book on some level; we have all made mistakes and poor choices which we regret and desperately wish we could change. While I cringed many times at Jacob's behavior (especially his homophobic words and actions towards his son), I did want to forgive him as he tried to make peace with Isaac. While I do wish there was more "forgive me" and less "let me explain" I found this to be a powerful, heart-wrenching, and beautiful reading experience and I definitely recommend this book.
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Thank you to NetGalley for this ARC digital copy. I have not been compensated for my opinion and this is an honest review.

Unfortunately, I was unable to finish reading this ARC digital copy before needing to switch to other books that were being archived. From the portion I read this book remains on my Goodreads "want to read" list. I will update my review to reflect an updated opinion when I finish it at a later date..
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I am writing this review with tears in my eyes. This is a very good read. A father is dying and decides to write his gay son a letter. What a letter he writes. Things are said that never were spoken, actions that was never given was apologized for. Asking for forgiveness and providing acceptance is also present. I cannot say enough about this read. It will stay with me for a long time. Thanks to Netgalley, the author and the publisher for the ARC of this book. Receiving the book in this manner had no bearing on this review.
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This book is a wonderful read, however it was just not my cup of tea. It has wonderful prose and a wonderful message behind it I just don't that it hit the mark enough for me to truly enjoy it enough to say that I would love it or that I would want to read it again. I would however give it as a recommendation.
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Don’t Cry For Me is letter from a father to his son. It is a love letter and it is an apology. It takes a hard look at black fatherhood and the way masculinity shifts through generations. It’s an incredible read representing a facet of the intersection between race and sexuality. I love how the book feels so true as if you’re reading a memoir rather than a novel and I would agree with the comparison to Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Highly recommend!
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Have tissues nearby while reading Don’t Cry For Me. It’s a story of father on his deathbed who is trying to make amends with his estranged son. He does this by writing remorseful letters to his son(Isaac) for not accepting and being supportive of his son’s gay lifestyle. He writes of his shame, his lack of understanding, and his failures as a father.

This book is heart wrenching. It’s raw and powerful. It’s a story of love and forgiveness. I liked the letter format and would love to hear it on audio at some point. I could see this as a movie, too. One the would win all the awards. I highly recommend this book. It’s one that will stay with you for awhile and hold a place in your heart. It’s a must read book! Thank you NetGalley and Hanover Square Press for the ARC. This will be one of my top books of 2022.
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