Review: If Not For Love by Dr. Vilicia Cade

Vilicia Cade 978-1530362592 Vi Cade & Associates 174 Pages; First Printing: Apr. 2016

If Not For Love is a powerful testimonial in the memoir category by Dr. Vilicia Cade. The book is a straight drive-by that doesn't shoot for the heart but hits it and all the right spots. Using a tender voice that shows reverence for a mother whose love evaded her and who caused her and her siblings to become wards of the State of New York, Dr. Cade highlights the ways in which government and the State tries to help but often hurts youth and families who live near or below the poverty line.

Set in 1970s New York City, with location shifts to upstate New York, this memoir picks up when the author is six years old. It gives a direct first-person view that at times felt like a bird eye view because the situations seemed unreal as tackled by this child and her siblings - all under 16 at the time. Dr. Cade's faith, rooted in a religious upbringing, anchors her through abandonment by parents, separation from siblings, periods of neglect by the State, and much more.
Yet, through it all, she perseveres because of love, that of God, other adult family members and self.
If Not For Love is a must-read for everyone, especially for children facing troublesome upbringings, particularly those who are in the care of the State. The book is also a call for more compassion from those who work with youth, and us in general.

Recommendation: HIGH

Reviewed by Guichard Cadet