Another word for love A memoir

Carvell Wallace

Book - 2024

"A lyrical meditation on healing-told through the lenses of justice, sex, love, family, and death-by journalist and podcaster Carvell Wallace"--

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New York : MCD/Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2024.
Main Author
Carvell Wallace (author)
First edition
Physical Description
xii, 253 pages : color illustration ; 22 cm
  • Part 1. Stories About Loss
  • The Quiet
  • The Fog
  • The Snow
  • The Razors
  • The Boys
  • The Everything
  • The Clothes
  • The Music
  • The Police
  • The Finger
  • The Police Again
  • The Smoke
  • The Birth
  • The End
  • The Death
  • Part 2. Stories About God
  • The Journalist
  • The Moon
  • The Lightning
  • Part 3. Stories About Reunion
  • The Stars
  • The Quit
  • The Universe
  • The Pandemic
  • The Plants
  • The End Again
  • The Bread
  • The Beauty
  • The Sex
  • The Touch
  • The No
  • The Love
  • The Mother
  • The Winner II
  • The Dog
  • The Rain
  • Postscript: A Story About Dill
  • The Dill
  • Acknowledgments
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

In this stunning self-portrait, journalist Wallace (The Sixth Man) examines the role of love in his life. Growing up Black in the "blindingly white" suburbs of Pittsburgh under the care of his single mother, Wallace endured periods of homelessness that ignited a lifelong fear of abandonment. As a child, he learned that "to be a man" was "to be contained, held within, under control," a perspective that caused him great pain as he entered adulthood and slid into alcoholism. After his drinking precipitated his divorce from his first wife, Wallace got sober, entered a new relationship, fathered two children, and began reflecting on the developments that helped him self-actualize, from attending a queer, POC-focused sex party to learning to say "no." Early on, Wallace admits that he "can't resist weaving stories out of aching trails of hurt," but it's his directive to "turn yourself over and over and over again to the honest, divine, and wholly annihilating practice of love" that characterizes this account. The elliptical chapters don't skimp on struggle (including a harrowing, near-deadly confrontation with L.A. police), but what elevates the narrative is Wallace's capacity for forgiveness and his virtuosic--but never indulgent--prose. This profoundly compassionate volume hugs the reader tightly and doesn't let go. Agent: Jim Rutman, Sterling Lord Literistic. (May)Correction: A previous version of this review incorrectly stated that the author has two sons. He has a son and a daughter.

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Review by Kirkus Book Review

The story of a poet and podcaster's journey to claim the fullness of his identity and power as a queer Black American. Wallace begins with the year he was 7, when he and his mother spent a year without a home, a time "full of endings and tiny deaths." From there, he leads readers almost hypnotically through his youth as a theater kid, the tightrope of his addiction and recovery, and becoming a parent. The narrative cadence ebbs and flows, condensing a profession trajectory here, expanding a single morning there, and gently, seamlessly incorporating the memories that infiltrated and shaped the experience of each moment. Wallace's lyrical eye, sharpened to every detail, lends rhythmic cohesion to a series of events whose context spans from the Los Angeles riots in 1992 to the racial protests in the summer of 2020, and he consistently investigates the collision between the systemic and the personal. In the face of an inheritance of "terror and anger" and the countless indignities conferred on Black men in America, Wallace's text is defiant in its honoring of beauty, gratitude, and the care he takes to live and tell his story with intention. The author presses against the indoctrinating grip of traditional masculinity, with its insistence on power and control, interrogating its lessons about fear and intimacy to discover "love in a way I had been trained not to love--a love marked by awe, sensitivity, fragility, and relationships formed in consent and mutual respect. Whether writing about race, sex, climate change, or making bread, Wallace is unabashed about and humbled by the embodied human condition and the human longing for authentic connection, lending richness and vulnerability to the link between a writer and his readers. Ultimately, this is an intricate and exhilarating memoir--heartbreaking, humbling, and hopeful. An exquisite, soulful must-read. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.