books

Day 3 – Love Letters To The Dead (30 Days of Book Reviews)

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Hello friends,

Happy Day 3! I found this shirt and I needed it because reasons. It says “I would be more interested if you were a book” and I’ve never felt my personality more aptly described by an article of clothing until now.

I had to share it with you, had to. 

Are you guys ready to party? And by party, I mean “discuss another book full of feels”?

Good, let’s begin.

BookWitch Love Letters.jpg

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Summary: 

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. Soon, Laurel has a notebook full of letters to the dead—to people like Janis Joplin, Heath Ledger, Amelia Earhart, and Amy Winehouse—though she never gives a single one of them to her teacher. She writes about starting high school, navigating the choppy waters of new friendships, learning to live with her splintering family, falling in love for the first time, and, most important, trying to grieve for May. But how do you mourn for someone you haven’t forgiven?

It’s not until Laurel has written the truth about what happened to herself that she can finally 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 truly start to discover her own path.

In a voice that’s as lyrical and as true as a favorite song, Ava Dellaira writes about one girl’s journey through life’s challenges with a haunting and often heartbreaking beauty.

Overall: 8.5 / 10 

Plot: 

Ah, a book that focuses entirely on the grieving process. It can’t possibly be sad! I read this book because the words “Kurt Cobain” are in the summary. It’s a qualification, fight me. I really, really enjoyed this book. I give it a 8.5 because there’s a couple short-comings with the characters that I’ll discuss in a second. I love books about grief. Call me a sadist, but there’s something inherently beautiful about the human process of sadness. The concept of this is just… awesome. I think writing letters is such a cathartic act and the fact that the main character picks people who her sister loved is so important (I also love all those human beings so reading this book was like “Oh yeah, I would totally do this”). The whole story is just heartbreaking. I’m not going to tell you why Laurel’s sister is passed, but it will destroy you when you find out. I also might be biased because its a deeply personal matter that I think hope a small population of the world would sympathize with. The idea behind this book is solid and I give it a higher rating just for creativity and prose.

Characters:

Okay so this is why I had to dock some points: the main character is whiny and her sister is an asshole. I had to cut them both slack given the fact of the circumstances, but I cringed through the whole book. Not every young narrator should be loquacious and intelligent, on principle, but it was a bit tough getting through her dialog. The English teacher was rad. If you like books where teachers are cool and observant, this is a good choice. I do however like the fact that her sister wasn’t this perfect human – because we are allowed to grieve over sinners as well as saints. The main drawback of this story was Laurel, in all honesty, but if you can look past her general demeanor, its a really great read.

Conclusion: It’s a coming of age novel so there’s no real conclusive ending. She just kind of grieves… and grief is a long  ass process. The story just kind of wraps itself up that she’s coping. That’s not a spoiler – the whole point of the book is to explore how people navigate death. There’s no grand finale, no flourish of activity. It ends how all things end, eventually and suddenly. It’s beautiful, because it’s realistic. There’s no magic cap to the fountain of emotions that we feel after a sudden death and I think the author did a great job of portraying that Laurel will continue to miss and grieve for her sister for the rest of her life, whether she’s writing letters or not.

Best wishes to you all; may your reading never be interrupted unless it’s a very attractive human being doing the interrupting

Carry on –

The Book Witch

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