Melissa and her older brother Junior grow up running around the disparate neighborhoods of 1990s Oakland, two of six children to a white Quaker father and a black Southern-transplant mother. Their house is flanked by both crime scenes and boutique cheese shops, and they play across these borders during their summer adventures. But as Junior approaches adolescence, strangers react differently to his presence; he develops a hard front and falls into drug dealing. Right before Junior’s twentieth birthday, the family is torn apart when he is murdered as a result of gang violence.
The Names of All the Flowers connects one tragic death to a collective grief for all black boys who die too young. An intimate recounting of a life lost, Melissa Valentine’s debut is a portrait of a family fractured by the school-to-prison pipeline and an enduring love letter to an adored older brother. It is a call for justice amid endless cycles of grief and trauma, declaring: "We are all witness and therefore no one is spared from this loss."
|Title||:||The Names of All the Flowers|
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