Sunday, 22 June 2014
Love Letters to the Dead
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 did. Soon, Laurel has a notebook full of letters to people like Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Amelia Earhart, Heath Ledger, and more; though she never gives a single one of them to her teacher. She writes about starting high school, navigating new friendships, falling in love for the first time, learning to live with her splintering family. And, finally, about the abuse she suffered while May was supposed to be looking out for her. Only then, once Laurel has written down the truth about what happened to herself, can she truly begin to 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 begin to discover her own path.
A lot of people were reading this when it first came out...I was intrigued. I mainly bought it because the concept seemed really interesting and the cover is gorgeous. A teenage girl gets an assignment to write a love letter to a dead person and she chooses to write to several dead celebrities. Cool, right? Well yes, in theory.
Overall I found the story to be really depressing. For one thing, the main character, Laurel, and her sister seem Bipolar to me (not that I have the PhD to diagnose them with such a disorder). They had such extreme highs and extreme lows. Laurel was grieving so I can understand a little, but May I can't explain. I also had a hard time connecting to any of the characters. I felt for them, but couldn't seem to connect. I did respect the LGBT aspect of the book though.
I just think that the idea of writing letters to these different individuals could have been so amazing and I was disappointed when I wasn't amazed.