Unlived Affections

A Charlotte Zolotow Book/HarperCollins, 1989.
Paperback: Alyson, 1995.

“A Best Young Adult Book of the Year”—School Library Journal and American Library Association

“This is a compelling story of a father and son, each finding themselves and the courage it takes to live the truth.” LOS ANGELES TIMES

“Honest and concise…readers will be moved by the sensitive portrayal of each character and the tragedies they endure [as we discover] that the past is indeed intricately tied to the present.” PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

“An excellent, uncompromising novel about coming to terms with oneself and with loss, through learning the lessons of the past.” Starred review SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL

“Willie’s strongest memory is of being shut out. Raised…by his rigid grandmother, he could learn nothing about his dead parents except that his father ran away and ‘wasn’t fit to be a father’ and that his mother died when he was two. On his grandmother’s death, Willie clears out the house before leaving for college and finds a packet of his father’s letters to his mother. [As he reads them, Willie] learns about love, about leaving and the fear of being left, and also about lies—his grandmother never told him his father was alive; his mother never told his father that Willie was born…Shannon writes a plain, echoing sentence, and teens will be moved by his story’s poignant ambiguity.” Starred review BOOK LIST.

“One seldom reads a novel by a man about men that dares the intimacy of this book. A variety of moving, deftly portrayed characters play central roles in the lives of these two young men. Yet it is Willie and his father who form the novel’s primary focus. Shannon’s tight control of story, his unwavering point of view, and his struggling but honest characters mandate attention and applause.” THE FIVE OWLS

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