Reviews

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 191 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?

About The Author:

Ann Napolitano’s new novel, Dear Edward, will be published by Dial Press in January 2020. She is the author of the novels A Good Hard Look and Within Arm’s Reach. She is also the Associate Editor of One Story literary magazine. She received an MFA from New York University; she has taught fiction writing for Brooklyn College’s MFA program, New York University’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies and for Gotham Writers’ Workshop.

Dear Edward will be published by Dial Press in the United States, and by Viking Penguin in the United Kingdom. The novel currently has fourteen international publishers.

Ann lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children.

My Review:

I was really excited to receive an advanced reader copy in the post from the publishers and my thanks to them and Netgalley for my copy.  This book is being published on 20 February, 2020.

Dear Edward is about Eddie/Edward a 12 year old boy who is the sole survivor of an airline crash in the USA, killing 191 passengers and crew and his mother, father and idolised other brother Jordan.  Left in the care of his aunt and uncle Eddie has to come to terms with his grief, survivor guilt and learn how to live in a world without his family and everything he has known for the past 12 years.

Dear Edward took me a little while to connect with and I think this is because the chapters alternate between the passengers on the fated aircraft and Eddie’s life “after”.  There were so many characters on the plane the author gave a voice to that at times I was confused and unable to keep track of who was who.

As a parent (and a human being) it was impossible not to feel strong emotions for Eddie and there was one moment towards the end that I had to choke back a tear or two.  Throughout Eddie’s story his guilt and life coping mechanisms are heartbreaking and his total and utter grief for his older brother is so real and so painful that it’s difficult to read at times.  His aunt and uncle who had no children now have full responsibility for a grief stricken 12 year old boy and having to support him whilst coping with their own grief is an ongoing battle.

This is a story about survival and hope and overall I thought this was a well written, thought provoking and emotional story.

 

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