Before I Forget

Before I Forget

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 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781932841435
Publisher: Agate
Publication date: 03/01/2009
Pages: 336
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. 18 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.
andafiro on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
After entering my most recently-read and pending to-read titles into Library Thing, this title was one of the top suggestions based on what I'd told it. Not bad.This isn't the kind of book in which I highlighted chunks of prose to go back and savor again later, but it is an incredibly well-told story with vivid and unforgettable characters. I think that this is Mr. Pitts' first novel and I look forward to what he does next.
greytone on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was excited to read this book because of it dealt with a prevouisly ignored topic (early onset Alzheimers) from the rather unique male perspective. In addition, the author told the story using the voice and imperfect life of a fictitious R&B crooner, and deftly navigated lessons on manhood without being preachy or tying the characters' lessons up in a neat little bows. As a matter of fact, I was surprised how many times the story's twists and turns caught me off guard and kept me turning pages 'til the very end. This is not a story about the tragedy of Alzheimers, nor will you read a story about the day-to-day debilitating effects of the disease. You will, however, see the main character (James Moses "Mo" Johnson, Jr. aka "The Prophet') look back on his life in an attempt to make amends for his shortcomings, understand his upbringing, acknowledge his mistakes, and make peace with his fate. At the end, what you find is that each of the novel's characters are doing the same thing....each with unique results that twist the story's outcome to an unexpected conclusion. This novel would be appreciated by both young male and female readers, old school parents and the new generation facing unexpected parenthood and unflinching adulthood. This was an unexpected gem!
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.