Before I Forget

Before I Forget

4.4 16
by Leonard Pitts, Jr.
     
 

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This powerful novel of three generations of black men bound by blood — and by histories of mutual love, fear, and frustration — gives author Leonard Pitts the opportunity to explore the painful truths of black men's lives, especially as they play out in the fraught relations of fathers and sons. As 50-year-old Mo tries to reach out to his increasingly

Overview

This powerful novel of three generations of black men bound by blood — and by histories of mutual love, fear, and frustration — gives author Leonard Pitts the opportunity to explore the painful truths of black men's lives, especially as they play out in the fraught relations of fathers and sons. As 50-year-old Mo tries to reach out to his increasingly tuned-out son Trey (who himself has become an unwed teenaged father), he realizes that the burden of grief and anger he carries over his own estranged father has everything to do with the struggles he encounters with his son. Part road novel, part character study, and part social critique, and written in compulsively readable prose, Before I Forget is the work of a major new voice in American fiction. Pitts knows inside and out the difficulties facing black men as they grapple with the complexities of their roles as fathers.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
PRAISE FOR LEONARD PITTS, JR.'S NOVEL BEFORE I FORGET:

"Pitts is a master storyteller with a keen eye for both social trends and the human heart.” —Tananarive Due, American Book Award winner, author of Blood Colony

"[Before I Forget] is a beautiful, tragic and riveting work." —Marilyn Dahl, Shelf Awareness—selected as one of top ten novels of 2009

"In a seamless transition to fiction, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Pitts Jr. (Becoming Dad) delivers an unsettling, compelling first novel about secrets, illness, and the role of African-American men in society and family life.... Bold in spirit and scope, this is a rare, memorable debut that should net Pitts a wide new expanse of fans." —Publishers Weekly

"A gripping story of regret, revenge, unconditional love, acceptance, and ultimately forgiveness." —Atlanta Daily World

"Laced with taut dialogue and description in a journey of self-discovery and an intense multigenerational pilgrimage." —AOL Black Voices

"Tough and tender, Before I Forget is the kind of novel seldom seen anymore, one that tackles the big themes [of] life, death, [and] love head-on, and is at the same time a great read." —Miami Today

"Before I Forget is a man's story, and Leonard Pitts, Jr. tells it with all the truth and passion we don't always have the courage or confidence to express. I saw myself in this mighty book, strong and weak, but mostly human." —Eddie Levert, Sr., lead singer, The O'Jays, and author of I Got Your Back: A Father and Son Keep It Real About Love, Fatherhood, Family, and Friendship

"Leonard Pitt's powerful depiction of memory loss explores the complexity of the relationship between fathers and sons in an emotionally gripping, must-read journey." —Lyah Beth LeFlore, author of Last Night a DJ Saved My Life

"I have been reading Leonard Pitts's work for 30 years. he is a one-of-a-kind storyteller, as he proves again with Before I Forget. This is a terrific book!" —J. Randy Taraborrelli, author of Diana: Call Her Miss Ross

PRAISE FOR LEONARD PITTS, JR.:

"Leonard Pitts, Jr. is the most insightful and inspiring columnist of his generation." —Tavis Smiley

"He refuses to be predictable or to rest on his considerable laurels. He is funny when you think there's not a smidgen of humor to be found, enraged at the very moment we thought we no longer cared, and he shakes us up just when we're so certain we have it all figured out. In other words, he makes us better for having read him. What a gift. In sparse, often electric prose, Pitts challenges us to be bigger than we thought possible, and then shows us how to get there." —Connie Schultz, Cleveland Plain-Dealer

"As a long-time reader and admirer, I find there is only one thing to question about Leonard Pitts being awarded the Pulitzer Prize: What took them so long?" —Bob Costas

PRAISE FOR LEONARD PITTS, JR.'S BECOMING DAD:

"This is a book about black men and fatherhood. But it is also much more....Pitts writes with a sensitivity and an eloquence that illustrate how these problems transcend race and gender. A must-read for anyone who has ever had a father—or has not." —Miami Herald

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review.

In a seamless transition to fiction, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Pitts Jr. (Becoming Dad) delivers an unsettling, compelling first novel about secrets, illness, and the role of African-American men in society and family life. His absorbing story centers on unmarried father of one Mo Johnson, a faded 1970s soul star living in Baltimore, and diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's at the age of 49. Overwhelmed with regrets, and unable to confess his diagnosis, he sets out to make things right with two men long absent in his life: his teenage son, Trey, an unwed father facing armed-robbery charges; and his father, Jack, now ravaged by cancer. Mo and Trey take a cross-country road trip to visit Jack in his final days, each character a simmering cauldron of secrets, grief, and recrimination about to boil over. Unfolding like a film (big names are already attached to a possible movie adaptation), the novel takes readers to rural 1940s Mississippi, South Central L.A. in the swingin' 1950s, and present-day Las Vegas with immersing dialog and vivid, powerful imagery. Bold in spirit and scope, this is a rare, memorable debut that should net Pitts a wide new expanse of fans.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781932841435
Publisher:
Agate
Publication date:
03/01/2009
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
234,521
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.30(d)

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Before I Forget 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
the book is current since most of us know of someone who has been affected by this disease. At the same time it allows the reader to understand what it must be like to receive a diagnosis of this magnitude. I identified with the main character as he struggled to find some meaning in his life. This book is an excellent one to give to someone whom you care about. Leonard Pitts is an excellent writer conveying his meaning in simple to understand language. I recommend this book to anyone who, like Moses, wants to make sure their life is not wasted and wants to make the most out of life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best books I have read, and from someone who reads more than 100 books a year there is a lot of competition.
Jimbo1948 More than 1 year ago
This is, without a doubt, one of the best books I have ever read. I recommend it highly and I am a 66 year old who has read literally hundreds, maybe thousands, of books. Top five without question.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
getsome More than 1 year ago
Maps three generations of family via the middle-level Father realizing that He had a terminal illness, and therefore wanted to atone for his unavailabilities. A great example of Male relationships, and the relative need and responsibility across generations.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When is the movie coming out. The writing in this story takes you through each moment and emotion of its charactors. I wanted to laugh, I wanted to cry, I felt a mothers fear, a sons sadness and a fathers love........
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A tale of any family for all generations more please
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Hitchagak More than 1 year ago
The author has written a poignant story with characters who are real living, struggling people. The story tugs at one's heart as the reader follows the sequence of events. This is a story of a man struggling with Alzheimer's at an early age and his trying to make amends to a son he has more or less abandoned. As they go through a metamorphous together, the reader gets caught up in the dynamics of the process. I would recommend this book to those who can put aside the language and see the characters for whom they really are.
graybear More than 1 year ago
"Before I Forget" ,by 2004 Pulitzer Prize winner Leonard Pitts, Jr., is a very moving story about a 49 year-old black soul singer who discovers he has early onset Alzheimer's. It is written with a keen ear for dialogue and a deep understanding of both the music world and family relationships. This should come as no surprise since Mr. Pitts, after all, was a music reviewer for years - and his earlier book "Becoming Dad" eloquently describes the pitfalls, challenges, rewards and humour of the experience of being a father. I was especially moved by "Before I Forget". I am a singer/songwriter (some have called me a "soul" singer) around the same age as Moses (Mr. Pitts' hero) and I lost my mother to Alzheimer's in 2005. The insidious erasing of what one normally thinks of as identity is depicted in this novel with scary realism. It is also a road book, in the best sense of the tradition, not so unlike other famous road books such as Kerouac's "On The Road" and William Least Heat Moon's "Blue Highways". The re-discovery of self that Moses experiences, even while he is quickly losing his old familiar identity, is an interesting and heartfelt testament to the power of the human heart. Mo's journey is ultimately a victory, even with all its tragic overtones, and he finishes his journey every bit as ultimately triumphant as Ulysses in Homer's The Odyssey.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
insightful, touching
leisure More than 1 year ago
At first, I was a little bored. But, I kept reading it and then I couldn't put it down. The characters were real and the twists and turns of the plot kept my interest. The struggles and conflicts of the main characters were heartfelt and rewarding as they continued to find their way. The conversations were realistic and interesting and the family dynamics were heartfelt. Read this and I'm sure you'll agree with me by the time you're done.