The Death of My Father the Pope

MCD. Dec. 2021. 304p. ISBN 9780374539160. $27. MEMOIR
Silva’s (English, East Los Angeles Coll.) debut memoir details the tumultuous and multi-layered relationships that can exist between parent and child. Interlacing scenes at his father’s funeral with memories of his own past, Silva lifts the veil on his life with an alcohol-addicted father and his own struggles with addiction and trauma. Beautifully illustrating the conflicting feelings that can erupt between father and son, Silva describes the moment he sees his father’s dead body for the first time. As Silva considers his father’s life, he is compelled to take a closer look at his own behavior: he recounts the days he ran with a street gang, the consequences of which have impacted his life beyond measure as he grew up between the United States and Mexico. Like his father, Silva has an affinity for the creative arts, and he examines his life through the prism of literature. It is his love of the written word that propelled him to become a professor and writer himself. This is a memoir about learning to accept two truths at once; that a parent can be both a source of pain and a source of enduring love.
VERDICT A ruthlessly honest memoir about the very complex emotions that can exist between parents and children. Recommended.
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