Read Tell the Truth & Shame the Devil by Lezley McSpadden Lyah Beth Leflore Online


The revelatory memoir of Lezley McSpadden—the mother of Michael Brown, the African-American teenager killed by the police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri on August 9, 2014—sheds light on one of the landmark events in recent history. “I wasn’t there when Mike Mike was shot. I didn’t see him fall or take his last breath, but as his mother, I do know one thing betThe revelatory memoir of Lezley McSpadden—the mother of Michael Brown, the African-American teenager killed by the police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri on August 9, 2014—sheds light on one of the landmark events in recent history. “I wasn’t there when Mike Mike was shot. I didn’t see him fall or take his last breath, but as his mother, I do know one thing better than anyone, and that’s how to tell my son’s story, and the journey we shared together as mother and son." —Lezley McSpaddenWhen Michael Orlandus Darrion Brown was born, he was adored and doted on by his aunts, uncles, grandparents, his father, and most of all by his sixteen-year-old mother, who nicknamed him Mike Mike. McSpadden never imagined that her son’s name would inspire the resounding chants of protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, and ignite the global conversation about the disparities in the American policing system. In Tell the Truth & Shame the Devil, McSpadden picks up the pieces of the tragedy that shook her life and the country to their core and reveals the unforgettable story of her life, her son, and their truth.Tell the Truth & Shame the Devil is a riveting family memoir about the journey of a young woman, triumphing over insurmountable obstacles, and learning to become a good mother. With brutal honesty, McSpadden brings us inside her experiences being raised by a hardworking, single mother; her pregnancy at age fifteen and the painful subsequent decision to drop out of school to support her son; how she survived domestic abuse; and her unwavering commitment to raising four strong and healthy children, even if it meant doing so on her own. McSpadden writes passionately about the hours, days, and months after her son was shot to death by Officer Darren Wilson, recounting her time on the ground with peaceful protestors, how she was treated by police and city officials, and how she felt in the gut-wrenching moment when the grand jury announced it would not indict the man who had killed her son.After the system failed to deliver justice to Michael Brown, McSpadden and thousands of others across America took it upon themselves to carry on his legacy in the fight against injustice and racism. Tell the Truth & Shame the Devil is a portrait of our time, an urgent call to action, and a moving testament to the undying bond between mothers and sons....

Title : Tell the Truth & Shame the Devil
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781942872528
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 272 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Tell the Truth & Shame the Devil Reviews

  • Erin
    2018-12-02 06:25

    3.5 Stars Lezley McSpadden experienced something that no one should ever have to experience. Her 18 year old son Michael Brown was murdered in cold blood by "police officer" Darren Wilson and his body was left laying in the street for 4 hours. Brown's death set off days of protest and grief. The police would turn the streets of Ferguson into the occupied villages of Iraq. The "police officer" Darren Wilson who murdered Mike Brown without remorse would of course get away with it because everyone knows cops can murder with impunity. Leaving Lezley McSpadden feeling not only grief at losing her child but a moral rage at the world.Lezley was born and raised in the hood and she makes no effort to coverup her ghettoness. I've read other reviews that criticized her for that, but I don't think you should criticize someone for telling their truth. This book wasn't really about Mike Brown, his murder or the occupation of Ferguson that followed. This book was about a mothers love and the desire to show her son as more than a victim or a thug. Mike Brown is martyr. He died so that people (white people) could see the injustice that minorities experience at the hands of bullying trigger happy cops.I highly recommend this book to everyone.Book Riot Read Harder 2017 Reading Challenge: A book in which a character of color goes on a spiritual journey.

  • Michelle
    2018-11-17 07:14

    This is a powerful riveting testament of unconditional maternal love: “Tell The Truth & Shame the Devil: The Life, Legacy, And Love of My Son Michael Brown” by Lezley McSpadden ( with Lyah Beth LeFlore) recounts the short life of her son Michael Brown, his tragic shooting death in Ferguson, Missouri on August 09, 2014 that sparked public outcry and outrage so extreme, it led to street protests and civil unrest across the nation and the formation of the Black Lives Matter movement.As a single teen mother when “Mike Mike” Michael Orlandus Darrion Brown was born on May 20, 1996, McSpadden was determined to work very hard to care and provide for him. Disadvantaged by her lack of education, low wage work, impoverished and crime ridden neighborhoods McSpadden raised her growing family by her strong work ethic and fierce independence. This strength however, didn’t protect her from the shattering impact of domestic violence and poor relationships with men. Later she would find stability and happiness in a loving marriage. McSpadden narrates the story in first person, in addition this is a startling recollection of lower income/poor black American culture: from immediate and extended family life, education, employment, to celebrations--foods/diet with noticeable speech and mannerisms.As a child, Michael was big for his age, he loved animals and video games. As he matured he was very devoted to his family, a good role model for his younger siblings, and assisted with their care. At school he had an IEP (Individualized Education Plan), avoided trouble with authority figures and gang involvement. Hospitalized as a teen for heart health issues and high blood pressure, he had to exercise and watch his weight. With little interest in sports, Michael tinkered with and repaired computers and he also rhymed and produced hip-hop beats. Following his high school graduation he aspired to attend college and study computer programming.Nationwide young black men were nine times more likely than other Americans to be killed by police officers in 2015, according to the Guardian. Lezley McSpadden (St. Louis, Missouri): is the creator of The Michael O.D. Brown We Love Our Sons and Daughters Foundation that advocates for justice, supports improved health and wellness, also educational opportunities that build stronger families. McSpadden’s signature program, Rainbow of Mothers offers support to mothers who have suffered the tragic loss of a child. ~ Special thanks and appreciation to Regan Arts for the ARC of this book for the purpose of review, and for sponsoring the Goodreads Giveaways.*In Memory of Michael Brown, today would have been his 20th Birthday.

  • Emily Mulkerne
    2018-11-16 11:08

    This book is absolutely beautiful. It's rare for a book to move me to tears multiple times. This woman should have never lost her son in this way, but I am grateful that she has channeled her grief into action. Thank you, Ms. McSpadden, for sharing your son's story with us. I am thankful that you did.

  • Summer
    2018-12-15 10:10

    I eagerly anticipated this book. Maintaining justice amongst increasingly militarized policing policies has always been a passion of mine. (That's an intellectual way of saying "Fuck the police") I've followed Michael Brown's case closely, ever since it happened. It was of interest to me for several reasons. I really wanted to know more about a few things - what was going on with that convenience store situation? The evidence seems to back up Officer Wilson's account, so if it's true what on earth would possess Mr. Brown to act like that? What was really going on on the streets where protests were happening? I really wish I hadn't read the first 148 pages of this. It look 75 pages before Michael Brown was even BORN. Before that, it was just Ms. McSpaddens life. She painstakingly describes every one of her outfits and hairdos. One thing I've got to give Ms. McSpadden - she is unashamed. Around here people try to clean up their image a bit, put their best foot forward, hide their bad decisions in a vague statement like "There were some hard times...". Not Ms. McSpadden. She spells out every terrible decision, every rotten action, every time she cut off her nose to spite her face. She describes her chaotic and toxic upbringing She doesn't give her mother a shadow to hide in. She doesn't make excuses either - she just tells her story as her story. While I somewhat admire her candor and frankly she sounds a lot like many of my friends and family, I still wish she hadn't written all that stuff. Because overall, she just makes herself look like a hood rat. Did she not have a friend to counsel her that some hands are best held close? It's especially frustrating because one likes to have a narrative to show justice starkly. I wanted Mike Brown to be a good boy from a good family so what happened could have an easily defined enemy. But that isn't really the truth and Ms. McSpadden doesn't really care about narratives. It is a moral challenge to face the fact that justice is multi-faceted, there are no "perfect victims" and we must find it within ourselves to seek restorative action even to people who are in their own way. Although the evidence (even of Ms. McSpadden's independent investigator) backed up Wilson's account, I still kind of didn't believe it. If true it would have meant that Mike Brown engaged in some crazy, impulsive, irrational action. Like, really, you charge at a police officer? That's nuts. Who would do that? They say he was high on marijuana and who does something like that on pot? Nobody would do that, it's nonsense. But after reading this book... I actually have to begrudgingly accept Wilson's account. Everything that Ms. McSpadden puts in this book paints a picture of herself as an impulsive, quick-to-anger, reckless person. She doesn't attempt to paint her son in a significantly different brush. Where this is really problematic is that this ISN'T a book about Mike Brown. This is a book about Lezley McSpadden. She speaks surprisingly little about her son. That's not surprising as the story unfolds because as it turns out, she didn't raise him. He stayed with his grandparents, his dad's folks. Ms. McSpadden wasn't absent - she saw him often and loved him deeply. But she was not involved in the day to day raising of this human. She called the school when she found out he wasn't doing well his senior year and the counselor said to her "We didn't know you existed". She wasn't even an emergency contact. When he finally did succeed in graduating (with significant personal effort according to all involved), she didn't even attend his graduation ceremony. Mr. Brown had several very serious health problems and Ms. McSpadden's own account makes it sound like she did not take care of them. She took him to the doctor a few times. She got him glasses. I guess they must've been reading glasses, though, because I've never seen him wear them in any picture? Speaking of pictures, I was a little surprised that this book contained none. I would have liked to see some nice shots of the Mike Brown as a little boy and all that. She criticizes Dorian Johnson (the fellow who was with Mr. Brown at the time of the shooting) and says he wasn't really one of Mr. Brown's friends. She says this because she had never met Mr. Johnson before and because he didn't come to the family right after the shooting. OK, then who were his real friends? She doesn't mention any of them because she didn't know any of them. She didn't know who her son's friends were because she wasn't involved in the day to day proceedings of his life. Ms. McSpadden has nothing at all to add to the discussion of the shooting because she wasn't there at ALL. She hadn't spoken to Mr. Brown in the days leading up to the shooting. She does paint a picture of Mr. Brown being really unstable and irrational during the time period she had last seen him. She prints his social media posts word-for-word and they just make him sound crazy. Really, I just don't see how none of her friends read this book and didn't steer her away from it. I liked reading about her Rainbow Mothers coalition and she did write eloquently about the pain involved in losing a child. I also think her push for body cameras on police officers is reasonable and smart. But I don't think it would have made a difference. All the evidence points to Wilson telling the truth and she still wishes he'd go to jail. One thing that struck me was how callous so many officials were toward her. It doesn't take much to acknowledge someone or say "I'm sorry for your loss". I mean, it might be kind of hard when the person is throwing a fit, but suck it up and act human anyway. OK. There's my review. I'm exhausted and frustrated and wish I never picked this book up.

  • Autumn
    2018-12-13 10:14

    Revolutionary, in that it's the story of a regular lady you would see on the bus, at the library, or behind the counter who gets to tell her own life story. You see her experiences, choices, troubles, and traumas in what feels like an authentic voice. I'm so sorry she gained her chance to speak through such a painful and tragic circumstance, but I hope a lot of people who are interested in real life below the poverty line read her book.

  • Catherine
    2018-12-01 05:57

    I won this awesome book from Goodreads,& I loved it! Such a powerful story,it actually made me teary-eyed & I feel for this sad. Great book,keeps your attention from page 1 right through to the end!

  • L.A.
    2018-12-15 05:04

    The most dangerous place on earth is between a child and the mother. Especially when that child has been murdered.Americans are better-informed than ever thanks to technology, but there's so much information that important voices can get lost. Lezley McSpadden's chronicle of her son's life is a vital piece of information missing from the media narrative of what happened to her son Michael Brown one ugly day in Ferguson, MO. In our insatiable need for 24/7 news and entertainment, we often forget that the people behind the glossy online images are flesh and blood citizens with their own stories, hopes, and desires. McSpadden and her co-author, Lyah Beth LeFlore, paint a picture of contemporary black life in America in microcosm, an environment where, no matter how hard you try, you seemingly just can't win.At least, not according to the rules of white America. But by other standards, McSpadden had definitely won a great victory before her son was taken away from her. Her own life--which involved difficulty at school despite much care and intervention, domestic violence, and financial woes--is a testament to her will to survive. After many years of struggle, she had a good job, a supportive family, beautiful children, and a true love. We learn about how Lezley met Mike-Mike's father, how he was born and raised, what kind of child he was, and how hard Lezley worked to get him through high school. It's a hard story to read, but at the same time there is more genuine love and support in her family than some of the wealthiest homes in America demonstrate. It's that consistent, persistent love that enables her to keep going.And then, with one phone call, McSpadden's world is torn apart. She recalls, as best she can, the things that were going on around her as she struggled to make sense of Mike-Mike's death. She writes about something a mother should never have to do: putting together her child's funeral. She tells the anguishing tale of coping with the justice system, which--aside from Eric Holder's genuine care and concern--treated her with fear and disrespect instead of like a mother who has suffered a great loss. Justice is blind, they say, but from McSpadden's story we learn that she is also frequently least, to voices of color.McSpadden's memoir is mandatory for all library collections. It will upset some of your patrons, sure. But it will reassure others that libraries truly DO exist to serve ALL people, that ALL people's stories are represented. Especially when those stories are frequently drowned out in the mostly-white publishing, media, and book-reviewing industries. And that, my friends, is the true shame. Don't let it happen on your watch.

  • O'Phylia
    2018-11-29 07:01

    Relentlessly raw and absolutely necessary.

  • Vicki
    2018-11-18 11:10

    Just a bunch of garbage about what a wonderful kid he was so wonderful he bullied those littler than he was. Garbage!

  • Mandi
    2018-11-25 09:05

    Note: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.No matter what you know, think you know, or where you stand in the larger political context of the events leading up to Michael Brown's death, and the weeks and months following his death, this book brings a powerful and moving perspective to the narrative.This is the story of Michael Brown's mother -- her life, struggles, upbringing, and her determination to raise her children in world fraught with obstacles and dangers. This was a difficult and painful read for me. I consciously acknowledged and set aside the privileges my race automatically affords me and recognize that without that automatic protection, there is a whole other reality and frame of existence that all people of color live in our society. As the white mother of a black son, my heart aches for this mother and I cannot bear to think how I would survive in her shoes. I fear for my son just as Lezley feared for her own, and yet that fear is something every black mother experiences, and especially for their black sons. I can only understand that reality in an abstract sense, but I do know that I have a greater respect for all mothers of color, for the maternal need to protect our children is universal and the love we bear our children is paramount to all.What I appreciate most about this book is the beautiful bond of love, strength, and determination between a mother and her son. Lezley gives a voice to her son in his death that shines light on the beautiful qualities and characteristics of her baby boy and their relationship through her eyes and heart. I admit, I cried. I cried a lot reading this book.

  • Sarah
    2018-11-16 08:15

    This book immerses the reader in the culture and family of Michael Brown. He was fatally shot, while unarmed, by a police officer on August 9, 2014. I highly recommend this book.

  • The Book Maven
    2018-11-28 08:15

    During my middle school years, I attended a middle school in Florida that should I put this...underprivileged, I suppose would be the best way to phrase it. I remember that it was smack in the middle of what many called "the projects." I know I adopted that phrase, too, not knowing the origin of the term, or the loaded associations. Bottom line was, the school definitely did not reflect a solid middle-class constituency. It was a diverse group of students there, but every morning, and every afternoon, I boarded a school bus that then trundled off and deposited me into my own neighborhood, which may as well have been in another universe. Reading Ms. McSpadden's book was a lot like taking a trip down memory lane. She and I are of a same age, so reading about her upbringing in St. Louis during the 1990s, and getting the pop culture references she made, rang very familiar with me. However, as I was reading it, I couldn't escape the feeling that her experiences, and mine, were nothing alike. We may have experienced the same events and culture, but in vastly different settings. I think that might be why it is difficult for many to read this book and really get the environment Ms. McSpadden grew up in, and later raised her children in. It's so far beyond our realm of experience, and when there is such a gap, how can we really understand?I want to understand. And it's thanks to Ms. McSpadden's courage and honesty that I am at least able to read what it is like to be a female growing up in a racially-divided city, surrounded by a family filled with warmth and love and chaos, struggling to make the right choices when you don't have the information and resources to guide and support you. She raised her son, Michael Brown, as best she could, and worked hard to keep him in school. When he was killed by a policeman in disputed circumstances, she was left reeling from the shock and abruptness of her firstborn's violent and senseless death. She's spent her time since then trying to find justice for her son, and provide healing for others who have lost their children. In this very honest book, which perhaps deliberately presents information in a somewhat jumbled and chaotic fashion, she has given us a harsh portrait of a facet of American culture that many of us have never, will never experience firsthand--but should know about in order to understand how people, events, and geographies evolve the way they do. It's a book about Michael Brown, but more than that, it's a book about Michael Brown's family, his life, his death, and his legacy. It's a book about the woman who gave him life and is trying to give his life meaning in death. It's a book that's going to make many of us uncomfortable, but it's not a book that we should turn away from. It's a book that throbs with raw anger, and many other emotions, and it's a book that doesn't agree with many of the outcomes of what happened in 2014. (Whether or not I agree is irrelevant.) It's a book of a mother's trauma at losing her child to violence, suddenly, a trauma that none of us should ever have to endure. It's a book made me think a lot about my fellow Americans and the vast differences between us, and the ways in which we live side by side yet worlds apart.

  • Jeramiah Paige
    2018-12-13 03:58

    This book was very Inspirational to my soul. To first hear from a mother writing about the death of her son makes me happy. In the book she really brings out her emotions towards what happened! She explains how the death of her son caused her to appreciate the life she has to live in the future. Im not going to go deep into the book but I one last thing to add is, she is very encouraging towards people who may have experienced the same trial that she has, with the death of her son. I recommend this book to ANYONE who is serious enough to read and is willing to understand her experience.

  • Tricia
    2018-11-16 09:25

    I won a copy of this book from Goodreads. Although it's not what I expected (less about Michael and more about his mom) it was a great memoir about Lezley's life up until and immediately after Michael's death. Highlights the changes that are needed in our system and society by focusing on this family's individual story and loss.

  • Lwtica
    2018-12-02 07:57

    I felt that I needed to hear her story, after all of the media spin. I now have background into her upbringing and Michael Brown's upbringing. How hard must it have been to keep pushing him to graduate and see his future. I pray she finds peace and purpose in her future.

  • Aj French
    2018-11-29 02:59

    If you understand cycles of violence, you'll understand how the deadly confrontation was inevitable. This is a fast, easy read, but poorly written, so it's difficult to understand in areas. It's good to understand a different point of view.

  • Pam
    2018-12-06 08:09

    I just finished this book tonight. It took me awhile to really get going because I knew it was going to have a sad ending. Once I really started reading it I couldn't put it down. Lezley doesn't cover things up she is very forthcoming in her history.

  • Dee
    2018-12-03 05:25

    i had to pull myself together emotionally, more than once, while reading her account of the injustices her family faced.

  • Viola Malone
    2018-12-14 11:12

    This was such an emotional read for me! Lezley McSpadden has experienced something no parent regardless of color should, being suddenly stripped of a child with no answers, closures or justice. In this book she shares her son Michael Brown with the world in a new light. Finally, I feel, he he humanized compared to what we outsiders (folks who aren't family and close friends) were given from "officials" in the media.This book gives us full-blown background and insight into who Michael Brown is and where he came from. I say is and not was because Ms. McSpadden continuously fights to keep his legacy alive and if you are a person of color, more specifically a black/ African American, this more than likely hits too close to home. As prominent of a case as Michael Brown's, this book, although it forces you to relive that (and we continue to relive it with similar situations and deaths that followed Michael Brown's) it is something that I feel needs to be read. There are so many sides to a story and unfortunately in cases like Mike's we never get what any of us feels is the whole honest truth? This book clarifies and again humanizes Michael, which personally is something I needed, as he as well as soo many others, Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice etc... Are my brothers, my cousins, my dear friends, my uncles and many more prized and loved men in my life who are already fighting to have a chance at a simple and basic life, but must endure so much more.I applaud Lezley McSpadden, and the Rainbow Mothers, because although I am not a mother and cannot being to understand the feeling of loosing a child, I can honestly while I do not know for sure how I'd react in a situation like this, I do know that I more than likely wouldn't be as calm and non-violent to say the least!If you do decide to pick up this book, get the tissues and be prepared for waterworks!

  • Atlantis
    2018-12-13 11:03

    Ms. McSpadden does a noteworthy job on telling her truth with regards to her life and her relationship with her son. She has my deepest condolences on the loss of her son who was obviously very precious to her-she fought and provided for him and had hopes and dreams beyond her life for him that were shattered in less than a day. Hindsight is 20/20 with regards to looking back on the events of that time and we can't ask Michael Brown his side of what happened. Romans 12:19-20 "Beloved, do not look for revenge but leave room for the wrath; for it is written, 'Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.' Rather, 'if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head.'" May God grant you peace Ms. McSpadden.

  • Brandon Will
    2018-12-05 08:12

    McSpadden shows how the political is so personal in her fight to take the personal back when one's life and their loved one's death become so politicized.She lets us into a painful place many of us need to see, and did so with honesty and grace.By focusing on her life leading up to Michael Brown's birth, and her life with him, she paints a portrait of the human side that's so often lost in the headlines and charged conversations: a story a mother and a son and the world that got between them. The boiled down simple reason people were in the streets, and still need to be as long as stories like McSpadden's continue.

  • Molly Walker
    2018-11-26 04:10

    Lezley McSpadden's story is heartbreaking. The senseless killing of her son Mike-Mike and the continued violence against other young black men like him is heartbreaking. So much of what is currently going on in our world is heartbreaking. This book explores this pain and frustration from a deeply personal level. Ms. McSpadden's ability to raise her voice and continue to fight brings some hope to this broken world. My biggest takeaway from this book is how deeply Ms. McSpadden loves her son.

  • Meg Tisinger
    2018-12-01 10:56

    Lezley McSpadden paints a raw and realistic picture of what is like to lose a loved one to gun violence. Her experience highlights the systemic racism that is still alive and well in the US. Her activism and her wish is that through her words/experience that we can start to work together for change. And yet, she makes it clear that she would trade it all back to spend time with her son. I've loved getting to know Mike and his family through her eyes.

  • Krystina
    2018-12-11 09:06

    I'm so glad I decided to read (well, listen since it was an audiobook) this book. It took lots of courage for Lezley to tell her story and the story of her son, Michael Brown. What I loved most was her honesty throughout the book. Hearing a first-hand account of who Michael was, instead of what the media wants us to think he was.

  • Teresa
    2018-12-09 05:04


  • Traci
    2018-12-12 09:16

    Amazing book. Provides beautiful insight to how strong this family continues to be

  • Leanne
    2018-12-15 02:59

    9 August 2014 white police officer Darren Wilson shot black 18 year old Michael Brown and changed the conversation about race in America. This book isn't about what happened that day. This is a book about a mother, Lezley McSpadden, and her relationship with her son, Michael Brown. McSpadden doesn't know what happened that day, and to be frank it doesn't really matter. An autopsy revealed six gunshot wounds to the front of Brown. I certainly don't care whether or not he stole a pack of cigarillos that day. McSpadden speaks passionately about her son when she speaks of him. The problem with the book is that Brown is seldom the subject of it. McSpadden instead writes about her life growing up, which I was actually very moved by, but it doesn't seem right to have it be the main focus of a book subtitled The Life, Legacy, and Love of My Son Michael Brown. Watching McSpadden work hard for her family, and then watching her son grow up into a strong, educated man is even more rewarding knowing how difficult the world he grew up in is.The bigger problem, and my biggest problem with the book, is that we come away not knowing much more about Brown than when we came in. When she does write about her son, it's in little anecdotes, snippets. The only real thing I learned about Brown from this book was how horribly troubled he'd been before he died. In fact, it seemed like he was hardly around McSpadden as he lived with his grandparents. This doesn't make McSpadden a bad mother as some reviewers imply--on the contrary, she comes across as a wonderful mother willing to drop everything and sacrifice anything for her children. However, it does mean that as Brown is absent from the household, he's absent from the story, in and out in wisps. McSpadden's honesty is refreshing. She even touches on things people told her to do to make her son's story more "acceptable." There are things she seems to gloss over, however. In the beginning of the book I believe she says her son was on vacation at his grandparents' when he died. Later she says he's living with them, in little hints. Why hide something like that but reveal so much else? Also, I was confused that she didn't really present anyone else's side to what happened. I feel it would have made her perception stronger to not skirt around what other people thought had happened to her son. Overall, this was a very good book (minus some editorial issues) about a strong, hardworking mother's uphill battle against a system working against her. McSpadden was heartfelt, and I felt for her every second reading this book. I was left wanting to hug her and tell her that I'm on her side, that so many people are on her side. However, I didn't get to learn very much about her son as the very real person he was, which is why I bought the book in the first place--I'm sure it's why most people bought the book. While it would be impossible to separate Brown's story from his mother's or from race, he needs to have more of a presence in his own story.

  • Daniel Garcia
    2018-12-13 09:04

    This past weekend myself and a partner went away for the weekend to some hot springs to relax, in fact, it was a trip that we had planned months ago. However, last week saw multiple police shootings of african american men across the country - leading to a round of protests, more shootings, and more news of other african american folks killed. After days of upsetting news, my heart and soul needed a break, and this trip, already planned, looked to provide it, especially since the location of the hot springs is in a cellular dead zone and they do not provide any internet access.However, as much as I needed a break, I couldn't bring myself to completely disengage, to completely shut out what has been going on around this country for too long. On our way up to the hot springs we stopped in a book store, and I went around, specifically looking for books that I felt like would keep me engaged with this, keep me thinking about it, keep me aware, and I came across this book.The killing of Michael Brown sparked a wave of protests across the country in the summer of 2014, much like the killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile have now. This book, by Michael Brown's mother, Lezley McSpadden, is the story of her life, and the life of her murdered son, and of her life in the immediate aftermath of the shooting (including the double disappointments of no indictment of the officer at either the state or federal level).The story is hard to read, especially knowing how it turns, and how it ends, but the words are important to know, to hear, and to share. Even as there were bits of the story that made me smile and laugh, it was all tinted with knowing what was coming up. It is heart breaking, it is angering, and now there are more mothers out there who no longer have their children, there are more families missing their siblings, there's more blood in the street, and there are more killers who will walk away with scarcely more than a slap on the wrist, if even that.I may have been unplugged from the news for a few days while at these hot springs, but I wasn't unplugged from the struggle. The struggle goes on today, and will keep going on.I look forward to the day when mothers aren't writing these stories.

  • P.
    2018-12-14 05:17

    This book did a great job of presenting Ms. McSpadden's life and perceptions which I appreciated. It was also nice to see and hear from someone who loved Mike Brown Jr instead of the sensationalized verosion of who he was, what he felt, and what he represented. I cried a lot because sadly her story is not the first or last and this will continue because most refuse to acknowledge there is a problem to be resolved. That is what terrifies me. I think if you want to start to get a more well rounded view of any situation you have to hear HEAR all sides and not assume you know everything. This was not a throw away ghetto kid he was well loved, we'll liked and by all accounts working through what all teens work through while navigating life...unfortunately someone decided to end his journey based on a assumption of who/what he was.

  • Kristen
    2018-12-11 04:58

    I feel bad for Ms. McSpadden, because it would be awful to lose your child, regardless of the circumstances. This book was interesting in that it gave a glimpse into the family's life. It wasn't particularly well-written and I could have done without all the bad language, but I do feel like Ms. McSpadden came across as being very genuine. Two stars rather than three because it was so anti-police (which is obviously to be expected, but still - I would have appreciated it if she had acknowledged the robbery that started the whole encounter with the police - she totally dismissed it and refuses to believe that it happened).