A Book About Loss, Love And New Beginnings
I know what you're going to say. So far every book I have selected to review is either a Reese Witherspoon or Jenna Bush Hager selection. I promise this wasn't done on purpose. So you may ask, how exactly do I pick the books that I read? Being the googling nerd that I am, I spend my days scouring every book list I can find to see what new and noteworthy books are coming out. I also follow many of my favorite authors so I know when they have a new book coming out. I have no idea what will be picked up by Reese, Jenna, Oprah or anyone else. I actually picked Dear Edward, because I loved Ann Napolitano's previous book A Good Hard Look, which was released in 2011 and was a fictional story about novelist Flannery O'Conner. I loved that book so much and have been anxiously waiting for her newest book.
Let me start by saying, Dear Edward is not for everyone. It is a sad and heartbreaking story about a plane crash and the one sole survivor is a 12-year-old boy from NYC named Edward. I know many of you, especially moms, will find this subject matter hard. However, if you can get past the subject of the book, you will find that Dear Edward is a beautiful story, of new beginnings, friendship, resilience, and how someone can find a way to move forward and build a life after such a horrible and tragic event.
The story goes back and forth from the actual day of the crash to 5 years after the crash. Napolitano goes into great detail about many of the people on the plane, their stories, their dilemmas. Then she moves forward to Edward and how he copes with waking up and finding that his family has been killed and he has become somewhat of a celebrity for surviving the crash. This story is so real, you feel Edward's physical and emotional pain like it is you experiencing these emotions. You come to know these passengers not just by the author's descriptions but also through Edward's own interactions with them before the crash.
How do you move forward after everything you know is gone? How and why did you survive? It's hard enough being a teenager - but now a teenager who everyone wants to know, touch, and talk to because you are some kind of miracle boy. It's just too much for 12-year-old Edward.
At first, Edward does what he can to just breathe. He goes to live with his aunt and uncle in NJ and they try very hard to build somewhat of a "normal" life for him. But he doesn't know how he can start over until he meets a neighbor, Shay, who becomes his oxygen. With Shay's help, Edward starts to pick up the pieces and discovers a way to move forward while also realizing that the crash will always be part of him. He has this incredible gift of life and he needs to take advantage of it.
I think this story resonated with me because I try to live my life in the present. I lost my father at a young age and understand how precious life is. We have just one chance to live our life to the fullest. Unfortunately, sometimes it takes a loss to understand this, but hopefully, by reading this book you will come to understand as Edward does. Moving forward is all we can do.
Publication Date: January 6, 2020