Monday, July 27, 2009

Staff Pick: Before I Forget

Book Cover

Before I Forget by Leonard Pitts, Jr

Shortly after Moses Johnson, a former singing sensation still living on his past accomplishments, discovers that he has early-onset Alzheimer's disease, he receives a call telling him that his estranged father is close to death. At the same time, his nineteen-year-old son, Trey, is arrested for participating in a robbery that resulted in a store clerk's murder. Moses and Trey set off on a coast-to-coast trip, during which Moses learns about his past and works through his troubled relationship with his son. A subplot concerns the brother of one of Trey's co-defendants, who is torn between his mother and brother, who want him to eliminate Trey so he can't testify, and his girlfriend and new baby, for whom he has pledged to stay in school and out of trouble.

This powerful and compelling first novel by the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist provides a nuanced and feeling look at the lives of African-American men today. Although it is, of course, part social commentary, Pitts has written a story that rings true, with an ending both tragic and hopeful.

Maria - Community Relations

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