Saturday, March 15, 2014

Love Letters to the Dead -- Book Review

Love Letters to the Dead
Love Letters to the Dead
Ava Dellaira

***Thanks to Edelweiss for the Net Galley Copy***
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.

I'm pretty much obsessed with obsessing over dead people's lives and so I was really glad when I came across this book. 

Laurel is dealing with the surprising death of her sister, May, who used to be her best friend, too. She also has to deal with her parents' divorce, and with school, as well. They were tasked by a teacher to write some letters to a dead person, and so Laurel saw this not as a chance to write to May, but to write to dead famous people such as Elizabeth Bishop, Amy Winehouse, Kurt Cobain, Amelia Earhart, Janis Joplin, Heath Ledger, etc. Just like talking to the pages of a diary, Lauren begins to tell them her fears and inhibitions; the things that strengthen and weaken her, and the things that make her who she is. Because she never gets to talk to anyone else, she uses the letters as a way to come to terms with how she really feels inside. 

But Laurel discovers that life is more than just writing letters to the dead. She also has to come to terms with the problems in her life on her own, and by learning how to start dealing with other people again. 

What I really loved about this book is that not only will you get to know more about Laurel, you'll also get to know more about these famous dead people; their flaws and pains, and who they were like in life. It's a good way to revisit the past and realize that the future can still be yours. It's a good way of realizing what's important in life.

Also, there are some twists in this book that you may not have expected. Somehow, the story gets to drag on a bit longer than expected, but it's understandable because Laurel's story is not simple. It's a colorful, layered story that's meant to be told. 

If you're addicted to pop culture, are obsessed with the dead, and want to read a book that will make you think, this one is for you.

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