Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Book Review: Love Letters to the Dead

Title Love Letters to the Dead

Author Ava Dellaira

Release Date April 1, 2014

It begins as an assignment for English class: Write a letter to a dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain because her sister, May, loved him. And he died young, just like May did. Soon, Laurel has a notebook full of letters to people like Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Amelia Earhart, Heath Ledger, and more; though she never gives a single one of them to her teacher. She writes about starting high school, navigating new friendships, falling in love for the first time, learning to live with her splintering family. And, finally, about the abuse she suffered while May was supposed to be looking out for her. Only then, once Laurel has written down the truth about what happened to herself, can she truly begin to accept what happened to May. And only when Laurel has begun to see her sister as the person she was; lovely and amazing and deeply flawed; can she begin to discover her own path.

This book is confusing for me to review/rate.

Overall, I liked this book. If I think about the book in terms of individual letters, though, I feel less certain about whether or not I liked it as much. I enjoy stories that are told in the form of letters. I especially liked that the letters are addressed to people that I am familiar with. However, the included details about the letter recipients, solely for the sake of the reader, kind of threw the story off. It felt strange to read the letter discussing the recipient's life and then transition into what was going on in Laurel's life. It didn't flow well for me.

The book is about dealing with loss, moving on, and becoming your own person after losing someone you're close to. I enjoyed the way the story unfolded, over time and in a realistic way. However, there were times where I just wanted to know what happened already! Laurel's grief over her sister's death is palpable. It rang true in her letters. I think her transition throughout the book was done well. It's hard dealing with life sometimes and this is especially so when dealing with such a great loss.

Love Letters to the Dead is a unique coming-of-age story. It will work for some, but fail for others.


3.5 out of 5 stars

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