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The Warmest December

by Bernice L. McFadden

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
19935117,464 (3.95)11
"McFadden's reissued second novel takes an unflinching look at the corrosive nature of alcoholism . . . This is not a story of easy redemption . . . McFadden writes candidly about the treacherous hold of addiction." --Publishers Weekly "Riveting. . . . So nicely avoids the sentimentality that swirls around the subject matter. I am as impressed by its structural strength as by the searing and expertly imagined scenes." --Toni Morrison, author ofBeloved "The sharpness of the prose and power of the story make it hard to stop reading even the most brutal scenes . . . The story feels real perhaps because it's familiar . . . Or maybe, as Frey points out, the story is too vivid to be read purely as fiction. But in thisPrecious-style novel, genre is the least of our concerns." --Bust magazine "This is a story that cuts across all race and social strata in its need to be told." --The Dallas Morning News The Warmest December is the incredibly moving story of one Brooklyn family and the alcoholism that determined years of their lives. Narrated by Kenzie Lowe, a young woman reminiscent of Jamaica Kincaid's Annie John, as she visits her dying father and finds that choices she once thought beyond her control are very much hers to make. Bernice L. McFadden is the author of seven critically acclaimed novels.… (more)
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» See also 11 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
Still Not Sure I finished this book a few days ago and I decided to let it marinate for a while before I wrote a review. I am still unsure as to whether or not I enjoyed this book. I can say that it kept my attention with the flashback point of views and the gripping, raw story of a family that was nearly destroyed by the illness of alcoholism. I think that it showed interesting perspectives of just how dangerous alcoholism could be. The novel followed Kenzie, a recovering alcoholic who is also the granddaughter and daughter of alcoholics, as she went on a journey of forgiveness. In order to release herself from her own demons of alcoholism she had to forgive others around her. The novel alternated between present day and flashbacks of Kenzie's life. Others called this riveting and powerful, but I am not 100% convinced. The ending was blah and quickly wrapped up the novel. It wasn't smooth sailing between the denouement and the resolution. ( )
  1forthebooks | May 22, 2018 |
I really enjoyed "Sugar" and "This Bitter Earth", so I thought I would also enjoy this one. However, found it be a story that did not really go anywhere and had some pretty cheesy metaphors. I will probaby try another of hers in the future, but this one was a really depressing story. ( )
  Juliasb | Dec 1, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I had a hard time reading this book as I felt like Ms. McFadden had not only lived my life but now she was is in my head listening to my thoughts. Our situations are so similar, the main difference being that my father is not yet confined to a hospital,though it wont be long.
This is a very good book even though I had to take it slow. The writing is superb!
I really appreciate the opportunity to have read this. Thank You. ( )
  Fibers | Feb 25, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
For someone who loves Toni Morrison, I have to say this book suffers by comparison. Like many of Morrison's protagonists, Kenzie is a victim--here, of the abuse from her alcoholic father. As she sits by his bedside as he is dying, she relives many of the incidents of abuse which caused her to hate him and turned her into an alcoholic as well. Somehow, however, I never really felt that I knew much about Kenzie except for her reaction to the abuse. This was a painful book to read, but for me it offered little to compensate for the brutality. ( )
  mexicangerry | Nov 10, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I've actually read this book a few times. It's a sad story but the author has a writing style that makes the characters flow through the story. I'd recommend it to anyone who has come from a dysfunctional family and liked to see someone's else story. Although it's fiction, many families are indeed affected by alcoholism. ( )
  haidadareads | Nov 7, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
...And every time I see him put the bottle to his mouth he don't suck out of it, it sucks out of him...
--Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Dedication
For me,
those daughters,
and their fathers
First words
Now and then I forget things, small things that would not otherwise alter my life. Things like milk in my coffee, setting my alarm clock, or Oprah at four. Tiny Things.
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"McFadden's reissued second novel takes an unflinching look at the corrosive nature of alcoholism . . . This is not a story of easy redemption . . . McFadden writes candidly about the treacherous hold of addiction." --Publishers Weekly "Riveting. . . . So nicely avoids the sentimentality that swirls around the subject matter. I am as impressed by its structural strength as by the searing and expertly imagined scenes." --Toni Morrison, author ofBeloved "The sharpness of the prose and power of the story make it hard to stop reading even the most brutal scenes . . . The story feels real perhaps because it's familiar . . . Or maybe, as Frey points out, the story is too vivid to be read purely as fiction. But in thisPrecious-style novel, genre is the least of our concerns." --Bust magazine "This is a story that cuts across all race and social strata in its need to be told." --The Dallas Morning News The Warmest December is the incredibly moving story of one Brooklyn family and the alcoholism that determined years of their lives. Narrated by Kenzie Lowe, a young woman reminiscent of Jamaica Kincaid's Annie John, as she visits her dying father and finds that choices she once thought beyond her control are very much hers to make. Bernice L. McFadden is the author of seven critically acclaimed novels.

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Bernice L. McFadden's book The Warmest December was available from LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

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Bernice L. McFadden is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

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Akashic Books

An edition of this book was published by Akashic Books.

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