Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano
Publishing Date: 20th February 2020
Source: Received from the publisher, thank you!
Number of pages: 368
Genre: General Fiction (Adult)
A heart-wrenching, 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 216 passengers aboard: among them a Wall Street millionaire; a young woman taking a pregnancy test in the airplane toilet; a soldier returning from Afghanistan; and two beleaguered parents moving across the country with their adolescent sons. 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 recounts the stories of the passengers aboard that flight as it hurtles toward its fateful end, and depicts Edward’s life in the crash’s aftermath as he tries to make sense of the loss of his family, the strangeness of his sudden fame, and the meaning of his survival. As Edward comes of age against the backdrop of sudden tragedy, he must confront one of life’s most profound questions: how do we make the most of the time we are given?’
Eddie’s family is moving from New York to Los Angeles, boarding flight 2977 with other, almost two hundred, passengers.
The plane crashes.
191 people, including Eddie’s family, die. Eddie survives. At the tender age of 12, Edward must learn how to come to terms with his grief and loss of his mother, father and brother. As a sole survivor, he becomes the centre of public interest. He goes to live in New Jersey with his Aunt Lacey, who also grieves after the lost of her sister, and his Uncle John, who wants to protect him from any harm. He also has to come to terms with going to a new school, with so many new situations – his greatest solace is a friendship with Shay, a girl of his own age living in a home next to his, and the most beautiful friendship develops.
I usually write long reviews but this book, well, sometimes less is more. Sometimes you simply have to go into the novel with open mind and open soul, and it is this kind of book, a tale that you need to read yourself, and I don’t want to spoil this beautiful reading experience for you. It is a book that you want to read again like for the first time, not knowing how exceptional it is.
The characters, even though I found myself not liking all of them, were very well developed and well, you just get so used to them throughout the story, and you can’t help but grieve for them. There is a soldier on his way home, a pregnant woman hoping for her boyfriend to propose, a dying tycoon, a woman fleeing her old life… They all have hopes, plans, background stories and they all left behind people loving them. I loved how the author gave us insight into their personalities as well, focusing not only on Edward’s grief and sadness but also on their individual stories telling us why they found themselves on the flight.
I think it was double as moving and touching because of the fact that Edward was such a young boy, to young to be weighed down by such grief, loss and also guilt. The enormity of the situation, of his feelings and emotions is often unendurable by an adult, and what about a young boy? You know that I often have problems with child – narrators, they often don’t work for me as their voices and personalities seem often too childish or too grown but this time Edward was a perfect narrator. His emotional struggles, and the burden of his survivor’s guilt are really well captured and the author deals with them in a compassionate and age – appropriated way.
Edward’s grief was heart – breaking, particularly the moments when he thought about his older brother Jordan, with whom he shared such a special bond. You won’t be able not to think how you would feel in Edward’s situation – it is easy but also really hard to imagine: I couldn’t imagine losing my whole family but I could imagine how I would feel without them, and so it doesn’t take long to fell for Edward, to feel his pain.
It was a heart – breaking, emotional and beautifully, almost lyrically, written tale that will tug at your heartstrings and will stay with you for a long time. It was full of sadness but also filled with hope and survival, friendship and caring, and seeing so many kind characters truly restore my hope in humanity. Highly recommended!
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