Memoirs of Mental Health: Acamea Deadwiler

Acamea Deadwiler is a gifted storyteller, and her new memoir, Daddy’s Little Stranger, made me feel understood and even brought me to healing tears.

“Releasing my tears would only compound the humiliation. I knew there would be no consoling hugs. We weren’t that kind of family.”

Daddy’s Little Stranger takes readers on a journey set in Gary, Indiana, which for a long time was known as The Murder Capital. Deadwiler’s story addresses the nuances of fatherlessness, identity, depression, love, poverty, and friendship. The prose is vivid, concise, and moving all at the same time.

“I understood early the importance of believing people the first time they show you who they are. Don’t wait for them to show you again. Because they will.”

I love Black stories, especially those that unapologetically tell the truth and break down stigmas within communities of color. Deadwiler does this flawlessly with grace and empathy, which I admire.


  • Raw bacon cooked on a heating vent
  • Hoopties and lemons
  • A surprise sibling
  • WNBA dreams
  • Good music
  • A niece who restored the author’s sense of hope
  • Ongoing healing
  • Worthiness
  • Leveling up

This book has it all!

What I love most is that Deadwiler doesn’t conclude the book with a happily ever after; rather, she is honest about the fact that she’s still an evolving human figuring it out as she goes. The world needs more stories like this.

I’ll conclude with an interview I did with the author on my podcast:

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