Tell the Truth & Shame the Devil: The Life, Legacy, and Love of My Son Michael Brown by Lezley McSpadden with Lyah Beth LeFlore [in Library Journal]
Michael Brown was shot to death by police officer Darren Wilson on August 9, 2014, in Ferguson, MO. Lezley McSpadden didn’t see her 18-year-old son die, “but as his mother, I do know one thing better than anyone, and that’s how to tell my son’s story.” Channeling her grandmother who always warned, “‘Don’t lie. Tell the truth and shame the devil,’” McSpadden – aided by bestselling author Lyah Beth LeFlore – explains that “an eighteen-second video doesn’t tell you anything about eighteen years.”
Conceived when she was 15, “Mike Mike,” as he was nicknamed, was the first of McSpadden’s four children. Despite poverty, violent relationships, insecure addresses, and family dysfunction, McSpadden’s determination to keep her children safe got Mike Mike through high school graduation – an achievement magnified by McSpadden’s need to drop out to raise her son – less than three months before he died. Her loss, exacerbated by Wilson’s exoneration, pushed her toward lifesaving activism, uniting other grieving mothers while creating communities to educate and enable youth at risk.
Narrator Lisa Reneé Pitts reads with steadfast resolve and unfailing dignity. Urban libraries serving diverse populations would do well to acquire McSpadden’s memoir.
Review: modified from “Audio,” Library Journal, November 15, 2016