May 2024

Another Word for Love

By Carvell Wallace
Review by
In Another Word for Love, Carvell Wallace’s dazzling debut memoir, love is an act of defiance.
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“They say love is patient and kind, but they never say what else is true: that love is also anxious and fearful, desperate and forever on unsure footing,” award-winning journalist Carvell Wallace writes in his debut memoir, Another Word for Love. Known best for his intimate celebrity profiles, Wallace now turns his pen to exploring his own childhood as the son of a single mother. With honesty and candor, Wallace reveals how the poverty and abuse of his youth impacted his views on masculinity, desire, sex and love. Another Word for Love is an excavation of his personal history that asks and answers questions about living and loving as a queer, Black man.

Wallace is a brilliant storyteller and masterful student in the language of love. But what about the things that get in the way of loving and being loved? Wallace has a lot to say here, too. For many Black Americans, like Wallace’s complicated mother, the act of loving is often superseded by the pursuit of survival. As Wallace becomes a parent himself, his essays chronicle the history of police brutality and racial violence in America, frequently asking, How can we teach our children to love in the face of fear and death? It’s here, in Wallace’s frank examinations of family and community building, that his writing truly dazzles.

Wallace’s tumultuous childhood meant he was always on the move, setting down in cities across the country without planting roots. Throughout his travels, he traversed different parts of his identity and uncovered messy, tender truths about himself and other men. From discussing the importance of Solange’s When I Get Home to unpacking letters between Pat Parker and Audre Lorde, navigating a kink space and sharing harrowing stories about the harm he’s caused others, Wallace’s prose is always sharp, witty and honest. Ultimately, though, Another Word for Love offers this radical declaration: Pursuing love is an act of defiance. No matter what trauma or complexities fill your story, love is all of our birthrights.

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Another Word for Love

Another Word for Love

By Carvell Wallace
ISBN 9780374237820

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