Wednesday, April 12, 2023

BLOG TOUR - Life and Other Love Songs

Title:  Life and Other Love Songs
Author Anissa Gray
Publisher:  Berkley 
Genre:   Literary Fiction; Historical Fiction 
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   336
Date of Publication:   April 11, 2023
My Rating:   4 Stars 

A father’s sudden disappearance exposes the private fears, dreams, longings, and joys of a Black American family in the late decades of the twentieth century, in this page-turning and intimate new novel from the author of The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls.

It’s a warm, bright October afternoon, and Ozro Armstead walks out into the brilliant sunshine on his thirty-seventh birthday. At home, his wife Deborah and daughter Trinity prepare a surprise celebration; down the street, his brother waves as Oz heads back to his office after having lunch together.

But he won’t make it to the party or even to his briefcase back at his desk. He’s about to disappear.

In the days, months, and years to follow, Deborah and Trinity look backward and forward as they piece together the life of the man they love, but whom they come to realize they might never have truly known.

In a gripping narrative that moves from the Great Migration to 1970s Detroit and 1990s New York, we follow the hopes, triumphs, losses, and secrets that build up and tear apart an American family.


At the age of thirty-seven, Ozro Armstead disappeared. It has been seven years and his wife Deborah has decided it is time to declare him death. Their daughter Trinity is none too pleased with this. There is so much more to this story and other connected stories - whether in the present, or the past, back to the 1960s - where 
this multigenerational family story is sure to captivate readers. 

This powerful story examines the lives of a Black American family over the course of several decades, and examines the many plights that they faced, including the 1967 riots in Detroit, the AIDS epidemic and the Vietnam War. Despite these and other travesties, love and family were borne. 

This story is told in multiple points of view, thus begging the reader’s attention, but it is done quite well, and it certainly pulled me in. There was mostly heartbreaking this effective story, especially when it came to some of the things that Oz and his brother Tommy faced when it came to their relationship with their father. After Oz and Deborah’s idyllic marriage, we see how things changed for Deborah and she became dependent on alcohol. So many series issues for a terrific book with a sharp emotional edge. 

Many thanks to Berkley and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.


Anissa Gray
is a senior editor at CNN Worldwide and a contributor to Emmy and duPont-Columbia award-winning coverage of some of the most consequential stories of our time. She began her career at Reuters as a reporter, based in New York, covering business news and international finance. Born in St. Joseph, Michigan, Gray studied English and American literature at New York University. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her wife.

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