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

McFadden's reissued second novel takes an unflinching look at the corrosive nature of alcoholism. At 34, Kenzie Lowe is a recovering alcoholic who lives with her mother, Delia, in a Brooklyn housing project. She finds herself at her father's deathbed and recalls all the drunken abuse that she; her brother, Malcolm; and Delia endured. Her father, Hy-Lo, beat Delia if the dishes weren't done, trained Kenzie to buy his vodka, and whipped his children with belts. The fights grew bloodier as Delia started drinking and Kenzie and Malcolm began to fight back. Temporary respite came with Grandmother Mable, but Delia, "afraid to stay, but more afraid to go," always returned home with her children. Still, as Kenzie stares at her father's desiccated body in the hospital, she feels an unwanted tug of forgiveness and, through the kind intervention of a nurse, tries to leave her past behind. This is not a story of easy redemption; Kenzie, unlike the rest of her family, escapes because of her strength, courage, and a touch of luck. Though McFadden writes candidly about the treacherous hold of addiction, the power of her story is lessened by wooden dialogue and hazy characterizations. Agent: Jimmy Vines, the Vines Agency. (Feb.) (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.