Before I Forget

Before I Forget 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

  • Title: Before I Forget
  • Author: Leonard Pitts Jr.
  • ISBN: 9781932841435
  • Page: 448
  • Format: Paperback
  • Before I Forget

    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 wThis 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.

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      Published :2018-09-11T09:38:16+00:00

    One thought on “Before I Forget

    1. Monica

      I really enjoyed Before I Forget. It felt rare and unique. I think its because I've read so few books that really examined what it means to be a good man and a good father. Rarer still is a novel that examines this in the Black community.(view spoiler)[James Moses "Mo" Johnson is a famous R&B singer from the 70s who has been diagnosed with the early onset of Alzheimer disease. This diagnosis causes him to examine his life. This story chronicles his road trip journey to see his father one las [...]

    2. Trudy

      Wow! Now I understand why Mr. Leonard Pitts is an award winning author. I thought "Before I Forget" was going to be a story about a 49 year old man's decent into the horrible world of Alzheimer disease, however it was so much more. As a matter of fact, the Alzheimer piece took about third place in the emphasis of this book. First and foremost it is a story of a group of black men, young, middle aged, and senior, and their relationships with each other and their families. What makes this story so [...]

    3. Wilhelmina Jenkins

      This book is powerful! I could not put it down. Leonard Pitts has done a wonderful job of taking areas which he has often discussed in his essays - father-son relationships, personal responsibility, and manhood - and creating a novel that is intelligent, accessible, and compelling. I an very impressed. If you have a black man - or for that matter, any man - in your life, this should be his next gift.

    4. jo

      whatever that counts, i was ready to give this book five stars. it's brilliantly written -- brillianty in the sense of displaying that assured steady hand fiction writers develop after a few tries at the press, except this is leonard pitts jr.'s first novel -- it's a most engaging read, its characters are well fleshed out, the dynamics it explores are compelling basically, a solidly great read. and i wanted to give it five stars because this is a family story written by an african american man, [...]

    5. Andre

      This book almost brought a tear to my eye in the end. It was a great reminder of why I love reading. Words have the power to do great things including invoke emotion. I mean you are aware that it's all fictional, but the writing, when done well, as it is here, can touch you. Although at times the plot is predictable, the story and dialogue is very real. Three generation of men, each a different expression of fatherhood. Can one be an effective father without the presence and precedence of one's [...]

    6. Nakia

      Found this book on a list of favorite books of 2009 on author Carleen Brice's blog, which led me to suggest it to my bookclub. The book was brilliant. Started off a little too slow for my liking but it was my book club's pick so I had no choice but to finishd I am so happy that I did. Pitts is a master at weaving layers to produce a full, powerful, and touching story. There were times when this book made my heart race (from chapter 18 until the end), times when it made me angry (Trey rapping ove [...]

    7. Selena Haskins

      Before I Forget was recommended to me by a good friend, and I'm so glad she has very good taste in books, because this story did not disappoint. In this tale about a former singing artist, who goes by the name "Mo," readers are taken on a journey, as Mo discovers he has Alzheimer's Disease. The story unfolds as Mo is forced to not only try to remember his past before he soon forgets, but the memories obligate him to correct what is present, and what has happened a long time ago. Mo is such a tor [...]

    8. Rosa

      Toni Morrison said, “If the book you want to read hasn’t been written, you must write it.” This novel by Leonard Pitts is one of the novels that get me off the hook. This is a story I’ve wanted to read for a while, a rare glimpse into the hearts of Black men. It opens with the main character Mo Johnson being diagnosed with early onset Alzheimers disease and 5 days later his son Trey is involved in an armed robbery of a convience store. Thus, Mo begins a reflection of his life as he tries [...]

    9. Beverly

      Before I Forget by Leonard Pitts, Jr. is a story of three generations of black men who are related by blood, but each struggles with their role of being a father and do not understand the heritage that bonds them and makes them who they are. The main character, Mo Johnson, a former soul star of the 70s, has just found out at age 49, he suffers from early-onset Alzheimer's, which will have him forget who he is before the disease kills him. This news, as expected, spins his world out-of-control. T [...]

    10. Shelley Shockley

      Before starting this review I must first say I will try to limit any spoilers. It is not my intent to give away the story, but I will probably offer more detail than I have in other reviews. So consider yourself warned.We've all heard the old adage "like father like son" and at first glimpse that seems to be the message in "Before I Forget" by Leonard Pitts, Jr. Pitts uses different points of view to tell the story of the three James Moses Johnsons, each dealing with his own dilemma and less tha [...]

    11. Lori

      I didn't want to put this book down once I started reading it. The relationships and the character development were really well done. There's also humor and suspense. We get to meet Mo, a once-famous singer from the 70's, Mo's son Trey, who is a 19 year old father of a 4 year old, and we meet Mo's dad and get to hear his story. Along with all of that of course are the mothers, girlfriends, step-fathers, etc. While it does get into the Alzheimer's disease, the book is really more an exploration o [...]

    12. Stacey

      WOW! Very rarely does a book elicit a 5 star rating from me. This was May's bookclub selection and it was perfect for a stimulating bookclub discussion because of the depths of the themes presented. So often I read books that disappoint me in terms of character development. This time I was pleasantly surprised. Each character was well developed and you could see their evolution, sometimes good, sometimes not throughout the story. My only issue was that the author used odd words at times - it fel [...]

    13. Philip

      A masterpiece! The story of James Moses Johnson Jr driving his neglected son, James Moses Johnson III, from Baltimore to Los Angeles to see his estranged dying father, and along the way trying to find a way to tell his son of his early onset Alzheimer's disease, is a compelling tale about what it takes to be a father and a man. Pitts' prose soars, and his ear for dialect is keen. I didn't want it to end.

    14. Ladie Nique

      I personally enjoyed this book I got the chance to meet Leonard Pitts Jr. and after talking to him about his novel, I understood the book even more. The cycle of having bad a bad relationship with a father was one of the biggest themes. However, I was very glad it ended when Tray was able to love his father, and save his relationship with his own son. Very great read.

    15. Charlyne

      I've always loved Leonard Pitts' columns but hadn't read any of his fiction. I'm really glad that's changed. Pitts is an excellent storyteller, making us care about a variety of characters, the hard choices they have to make and how circumstances shape those choices. This book is definitely worth the time.

    16. Renee

      This book is a quiet little gem, and I can see why many have voted for it on the Lost African American Treasures book list. It really is a treasure, a glimpse into territory that is often unexamined.The book is told from the perspective of a grandfather, son, and grandson - all black men, a product of their times. The story weaves in an out from each man's perspective, telling about his life choices, the things that matter, why they did what they did, and why they thought it was right at the tim [...]

    17. Wendy E

      This is a beautiful and tragic story. I loved every page of it, even the ending full of deaths. The characters in this book seemed so real and complicated. But the storyline that really confused me was Dog. I just knew that eventually he was going to choose his nasty family over Ronnie, but I really expected that he was going to cut a deal with the judge - I'll leave your daughter alone if you manage to get my brother off. But then the baby was born and he decided that he hated his mother (I hat [...]

    18. Mona Grant-Holmes

      I really enjoyed this novel. What do fathers teach their sons? Mo,James Moses Johnson, II, becomes a world famous singer. He blames his father, James Moses Johnson, aka Jack, for his mother's death. Mo has a son, James Moses Johnson, III, aka Trey. Mo has been busy with making music and living life. He sees his son every now and then, but has not been there like he should have. In spite of his sporadic appearances, Trey loves his father. Trey has a four year old son named DeVante. Mo is forty-ni [...]

    19. Sherrie

      A powerful and wonderfully written book about the ties that bind parents and children (particularly fathers and sons)and the many different ways they can misjudge each other. A first novel by Leonard Pitts Jr, who is a Pulitzer Prize winning newspaper columnist, this is a story that will stay with you long after you read the last page. Many of Pitts' columns deal with the crisis of fatherless children in African-American society, and the characters in the book are black. But these are universal [...]

    20. Teena in Toronto

      What an excellent story!I was drawn to Mo's story I'm just a couple years younger than him and I can't imagine finding out I had Alzheimer's and didn't have long to live.There were lots of characters and you get to know the main ones really well and are cheering for them.I'd never heard of Pitts Jr. I came across this book at the library and am glad I did.I'd definitely recommend it!

    21. Janet

      sometimes facile but also thoughtful; how generations collide, intersect. some stereotypes presented, challengeddemption?had no idea when I started this about its focus on dementia. as a caregiver to a musician recovering from a stroke and suffered his own lapses in memory it cut close to the bone in some ways. not so much in others. an airing of views - wealthy, not, oppressed by race, gender, systemic violence.

    22. Heather

      This was a very moving and complex story about relationships lost and found. The setting called for some language, but the language was really rough and I almost stopped reading it, but oddly enough the book also had somewhat of a Christian undertone to itgo figure. I'm glad I stuck it out and finished it, there are some good resolutions, but probably not one I'd recommend widely on the account of the rough language.

    23. Nicolette

      An honest view of dysfunctional relationships between three generations of men (in one family) and the price they pay for restitution and lack of restitution. This thread runs deeply through the novel -- between the primary characters and in the description of the lives of the secondary characters.This book was a page turner from beginning to end. A great first novel.

    24. Mike

      Fascinating story of three generations of very different black men--successful father who develops early onset Alzheimers, his son accused of robbing a convenience store, and his father who is dying of cancer. Unpleasant at times but a fascinating book. (The author is a newspaper columnist who appears in the Hutch paper every Monday and is always a "good read" there.)

    25. Erica

      I wanted to like this book, I really did. Great premise, great story to be told, however I feel the author missed the mark. Story told from too many point of views, and too many unecessary chapters that didn't add anything extra to the story. However, I did think the writing was really good.

    26. John Bohnert

      Wow! This is a very powerful novel.I've never read any novel like this about African-Americans.I'm very glad that I did.I've read many of Mr. Pitts' newspaper columns but this is a whole different side of the author's talent.

    27. Lyndsey

      What to say about this book? Moses Johnson is a singer. He has made it big in the world. When reading the book you think he is pretty old but he is only in his 40's. One day he misses his route to the singing gig he has to be at. Everyone gets annoyed with him when he finally does show up because it hasn't been the first time that he has forgotten simple things. The bandleader makes him go to the doctor. Ofcourse they find out he has early onset alzheimer's. Like Moses father before him, he hasn [...]

    28. Jill

      I have enjoyed reading Leonard Pitts's newspaper columns for several years, and then I heard him interviewed on WFAE's Charlotte Talks about this book, his first novel. I found this book very powerful. It's more than the story of the three generations of African-American men and their complicated relationships as fathers and sons, which is what I was expected, one of whom has early-onset Alzheimers. I really appreciate how Pitts wove in other stories -- of Tash, Mo's lover and Trey's mother, and [...]

    29. Lindor Joelle

      WOW. I finished this book last night, and I'm still just saying "WOW" to myself. It has been quite some time since I've read a work of fiction centered around an African-American cast that has left met truly amazed with the storyline and writing. Mr. Pitts is an incredicle storyteller and I may just need to go look up some of his newspaper articles at this point.There were a few sections in the book where I thought the story was going to get really stereotypical and turn into another urban ficti [...]

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