Cover image for The warmest December
The warmest December
McFadden, Bernice L.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Prince Frederick, MD : Recorded Books, [2001]

Physical Description:
7 audio discs (8.25 hr.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in.
General Note:

Compact discs.
Added Author:
Format :
Audiobook on CD


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
XX(1148088.8) Adult Audiobook on CD Audiobooks

On Order



Twenty years after leaving home, Kenzie is still haunted by memories of her abusive father. She remembers choosing which belt to be whipped with, seeing her mother's teeth get knocked out, and taking endless trips to the store for the liquor that feeds her father's addiction. When she learns that this brutal man is dying, she is shocked by her own desire to be with him as the end approaches. And with each visit, she delves deeper into a search for healing. McFadden's book is a shocking tale of the legacy left by violent, alcoholic parents that is tremendously moving and avoids sentimentality

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Kenzie Lowe, a young woman struggling to overcome alcoholism, is compelled to visit her dying father, a pathetic and contemptible character, an alcoholic, and a wife and child abuser. She is compelled by impulses she herself can't explain. Through flashbacks to her violent and miserable youth, Kenzie recalls her family's past: Hy-Lo, the violent abuser; Della, the compliant wife; and Kenzie and Malcolm, the submissive children, until adolescence. She, at least, escaped for a while to boarding school. Her family, however, didn't escape the deterioration until a tragedy breaks the bond between husband and wife. Kenzie has waited practically her whole life for her father to die, but now that the time has come she finds her hate changing to compassion and forgiveness. She learns the secret of her father's childhood, one much like her own, and begins to understand, forgive, and heal her own sickness. This is a sad and touching novel about abuse and alcoholism from the author of Sugar (2000). Vanessa Bush

Publisher's Weekly Review

"Now and then I forget things.... One day last week I forgot that I hated my father... " McFadden's graphic, poignant second novel (following her praised debut, Sugar) charts the resonating legacy that alcoholic parents pass on to their children through the cycle of addiction and domestic violence. Narrator Kenzie Lowe, an African-American woman in her 30s on welfare, has used alcohol to repress the memories of abuse she suffered growing up in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, caught in the physical and emotional grip of her whiskey-swilling father, Hyman Lowe. As Hy-Lo (a name that reflects his erratic mood swings) lies comatose in his hospital bed, dying of liver disease, Kenzie finds herself in the grip of buried memories. Deftly evoking the turbulence of Kenzie's tormented recollections, McFadden builds tension as Kenzie's subconscious releases events from a fearful childhood dominated by Hy-Lo's sadistic punishments. Incidents where he burned a cigarette into her palm, broke her ribs with lashes from his belt, knocked out her mother's teeth and terrorized her brother, effectively causing his death, graphically illustrate a child's powerlessness in the grip of an appallingly abusive parent. Seamless transitions between Kenzie's past and her present life anchored by AA sessions imbue this difficult tale with dramatic suspense. While McFadden's decision to tie up loose ends into a neatly contrived ending may seem facile, its cathartic message of forgiveness and recovery will elicit tears. Agent, James Vines. (Jan. 15) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

McFadden follows up the sweet success of Sugar with this story of Kenzie, who has an epiphany when visiting her dying father, an abusive, alcoholic man she escaped years ago. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.