Monday 27 January 2020

Dear Edward - Ann Napolitano

A luminous, life-affirming novel about a 12-year-old boy who is the sole survivor of a deadly plane crash

One summer morning, a flight takes off from New York to Los Angeles. There are 192 passengers aboard: among them a young woman taking a pregnancy test in the airplane toilet; a Wall Street millionaire flirting with the air hostess; an injured soldier returning from Afghanistan; and two beleaguered parents moving across the country with their adolescent sons, bickering over who gets the window seat. When the plane suddenly crashes in a field in Colorado, the younger of these boys, 12-year-old Edward Adler, is the sole survivor.

Dear Edward depicts Edward's life in the crash's aftermath as he struggles to make sense of the meaning of his survival, the strangeness of his sudden fame, and find his place in the world without his family. In his new home with his aunt and uncle, the only solace comes from his friendship with the girl next door, Shay. Together Edward and Shay make a startling discovery: hidden in his uncle's garage are sacks of letters from the relatives of the other passengers, addressed to Edward.

As Edward comes of age against the backdrop of sudden tragedy, he must confront some of life's most profound questions: how do we make the most of the time we are given? And what does it mean not just to survive, but to truly live?

What did I think?

Oh my!  Once in a while a book comes along that makes your heart ache and Dear Edward is that book for me.  Against the terribly emotional backdrop of a plane crash is a beautiful story filled with love and hope that left me feeling very emotional.  Having gotten to know Edward through the book I was surprised how deeply I felt the loss of his family; it was if I was experiencing some of his own emotions along with him.

The story is told in three timelines: Edward in the aftermath of the crash, the last hours of the crash and back stories of some of the passengers.  All three timelines are equally poignant and often distressing, knowing the conclusion that we are hurtling towards.  It's quite a dilemma when the book is so good that you don't want to put it down, yet knowing that the quicker you read, the sooner you will reach the devastating ending for most of the characters.  Reading the last moments of the flight was so heart-achingly poignant that I still feel emotional thinking about it now.

Ann Napolitano writes so beautifully and rhythmically that the story flows like a piece of music.  Dear Edward not only pulled my heart strings but played them like a violin virtuoso as I experienced a full musical spectrum; from deep mournful doloroso tones, gradually rising through the crescendo, to making my heart sing with joy in the finale.

Stunning, breathtaking and heart-achingly poignant, Dear Edward is absolutely superb and very highly recommended.  

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

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