Monday, June 6, 2016

Alligator Candy: A Memoir by David Kushner

David Kushner grew up with a hole in his life - the empty spot where his next-oldest brother should have been. And while the Kushner family moved forward, its surviving members living and achieving, they all carried the grief of losing 11-year-old Jon.

David was four years old when his brother died. He was too young to really understand what was going on, but certainly not too young to miss the brother he'd worshipped. His memory wiped clean most of it away, and throughout his life David remained mostly naieve to the details of Jon's death.

In bits and pieces, he eventually opens up to the story - but mostly, it's the death and funeral of their father (36 years after Jon's death) that compels David to turn his journalism skills to this tragic story and research, read, and interview his way into a full account of Jon's demise.

The book's well written and honest, though a bit emotionless even though it's personal. It's Kushner's factual, journalistic style that makes it so shocking then, later, when he coldly lays bare the facts of the murder.

To carry the weight of that information must be crushing - what was done to the child - and for me it made things even more stunning how the family members each dealt with the knowledge yet led fulfilling lives.

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