The book strains, at times, to extrapolate broader lessons from what happened. It needn’t; the study of a family in extremis is enough. 'I long for this kid, my Jon, part of me,' Kushner’s mother writes in her journal, six months after the murder. One of the questions raised by the author is, How does one survive the worst thing? The only answer is this: A mother writing to her son, years after his death, 'Do you still know that you are loved?'
Alligator Candy is a raw story about courage, survival and most certainly about love. It's also about defeating the demons of our memory. And thus it is only fitting that when his daughter was old enough to get her own bike, David Kushner taught her to ride on the same street where he last saw his brother. And for good reason.