Alexie Memoir: Audio Version Excels

You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me by Sherman Alexie (2017).

Native American poet and author Sherman Alexie has written an expressive, moving and humorous memoir of what it is like to grow up as an Indian in the United States.

Inspired by the death of his mother in 2015, Alexie recalls tales from his youth in Wellpinit on the Spokane Indian Reservation. He bravely and brazenly tells admittedly mostly true stories of family, home, and hard choices.  The stories share universal truths, while describing broader pictures that are often systemic to the life of Native Americans on reservations in the United States. For readers of his previous works, there will be a familiar sense of characters and place. Echoes from his autobiographical stories have found their way onto the pages of his most successful books.

Through a friend’s recommendation, I chose to listen to this memoir instead of reading it. I’m so glad I did. Alexie touchingly narrates these emotional tales of sparseness and abundance while refusing to dodge the violent, distasteful and illegal incidents which helped to shape his life. Listening to him become emotional as he spoke, while his accent highlighted phrases and words I would have missed upon merely reading, I cannot say I have enjoyed an audio book more thoroughly.

I also recommend having a box of tissues handy.


Blair C Runion