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The Warmest December.

The Warmest December by Bernice Mc Fadden Dutton, February 2001, $22.95, ISBN 0-525-94564-4

Sitting beside her dying father's hospital bed, Kenzie Lowe realizes hate is as transient an emotion as love. When she needs it most, hate has deserted her. In its place is an empty ache that reminds her of her empty future. Listening to the old man's feeble breaths, she comes face-to-face with her turbulent past--a childhood of broken dreams, broken trust and tragedy, the result of her father's alcoholism. Until now, she's never realized just how deep, how uncontrollable her father's self-destructive legacy is.

Her story starts in the 70s, with a childhood spent in middle-class New York City, but she never notices the comfort of her home, just the brutal fights between her father and mother. Over the years, those fights manifest into wife-beating and child abuse. Her father's seemingly senseless acts of violence increase and her brother becomes the frequent target. Dreaming of the day she can escape, Kenzie holds on to her sanity, believing that once she's out of school, she'll leave her family and the pain behind.

Later, as a rising New York City executive, Kenzie becomes a victim of the same legacy that has destroyed every member of her family--alcoholism. She loses everything--her dream job, her swank home and her fragile self-esteem. It isn't until she faces her father, and lets go of the hatred she's held for so long, that she can move into healing and self-love.

One cannot describe the emotional depth, the aching poignancy that breathes life into McFadden's latest literary lifeline. In reading and embracing this story, one cannot escape a confrontation with one's own fragile humanity and the legacies, good and bad, that our families have left us.

Cheryl Ferguson is an agent, a writer and an avid reader who enjoys the ambiance and the sunny beaches of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina with her husband, Stephen and her daughter, Dominique.
COPYRIGHT 2001 Cox, Matthews & Associates
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Review
Author:Ferguson, Cheryl
Publication:Black Issues Book Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Mar 1, 2001
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