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Description de l’éditeur
From award-winning journalist David Kushner, a regular contributor to Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, and Vanity Fair, Alligator Candy is “a raw story about courage, survival, and most certainly about love” (Tampa Bay Times).
David Kushner grew up in the suburbs of Florida in the early 1970s, running wild with his friends, exploring, riding bikes, and disappearing into the nearby woods for hours at a time. One morning in 1973, however, everything changed when David’s older brother Jon took a short bike trip to the local convenience store. He never returned. Alligator Candy is the story of Jon’s murder at the hands of two sadistic drifters, and everything that happened after.
Jon’s death was one of the first in what turned out to be a rash of child abductions and murders that dominated headlines for much of the 1970s and 80s. It was around this the time that milk cartons began to feature the images of missing children, and newscasters began asking, “It’s 10:00, do you know where you children are?” Alligator Candy chronicles Jon’s story, but also tells how parenting in America has changed, casting light on the transition between two generations of children—one raised on freedom, the other on fear. “Parents today can understand the love, hope, and fear Kushner so eloquently describes in this account of one family’s transcendent courage in the face of crushing pain” (Bookpage, “Top Ten Book of the Month”).
Alligator Candy is a disturbing, insightful, and inspiring meditation on grief, growth, and what childhood has become: “not only a memorial to a brother tragically deprived of his right to live; but also a meditation on the courage necessary to live freely in a world riven by pain, suffering, and evil” (Kirkus Reviews).
In this solemn memoir, journalist Kushner returns to the horrifying murder of his brother in Tampa in 1973. Kushner, only four years old at the time, begged 11-year-old Jonathan to get him candy at the local 7-Eleven and then watched him cycle away into the woods. Jonathan never returned, and his disappearance led to an extraordinary search that apprehended the murderers, two psychopaths who had been stalking children in the area. One of the killers was executed; when the second became eligible for parole, Kushner felt compelled to research and confront the tragedy that he had avoided for so long. The strength of Kushner's narrative lies in his exploration of how trauma distorts and reshapes even the strongest families. In the wake of Jonathan's murder, Kushner's father, a progressive anthropology professor, shifted his research to focus on grief and loss, while his mother helped pioneer hospice care. Yet the family members rarely shared their feelings, and Kushner couldn't bring himself to write about the murder until after his father's death. Kushner's effort to grapple with his loss takes far more space than the actual investigation, and at times, the narrative is unfocused and confusing. Nevertheless, his vivid evocation of his brother, his family, and their Jewish, academic, Southern milieu is a moving tribute.