I wasn’t sure what to expect when I began this book, would it focus on Edward rebuilding his life? Would it tell the story of the crash? The answer is yes to both but the way in which Napolitano brings the story together is truly breathtaking.
The first chapter begins with introducing you to Edward and his family plus a number of other passengers who are about to board the flight. As I turned the page for chapter two, expecting to read more about the flight, the shift to after the plane crash startled me. Within a few chapters I realised that Napolitano was using one of my most loved techniques to tell a story, the to and fro between the past and the present. Never before has this technique had such a powerful impact on me, knowing that all the passengers were going to die bar Edward, and not knowing the reason why seemed to place me inside an emotional bubble and whilst I was curious of the outcome, I really didn’t want the bubble to burst. Like Edward, I don’t think I’d truly expected that all of the passengers had died until I was shown the brutal evidence.
In present time, Edward is now living with his aunt and uncle who are dealing with their own heartbreaking struggles to have a child. Whilst Lacey had dreamed of having her own kids, perhaps she can use her maternal nature for looking after Edward… but it’s key to remember that she lost her sister in the crash, she’s grieving too.
Shay; the “girl next door”, brings a ray of light to this story, and continued to shine brighter and brighter throughout. Her individuality is something that I adored to read, Shay isn’t phased about having friends or being ordinary, instead she’s curious, imaginative and; whilst many might not notice it, patient. Her skillset made her the perfect person for Edward to bond with, she respected his space and tolerated his sleeping habits.
Shay isn’t the only character to bring joy to Edward’s life, there are a number of adults, such as Edward’s new school principal, who just seemed to have such an incredible ability to respect Edward’s grief whilst slowly helping him to focus on life going forward.
If like me, you take titles of books very seriously, you may be wondering why it’s called “Dear Edward” and it wasn’t until two-thirds through that I discovered the reason or if I’d read the blurb properly, I’d have known! Relatives of other passengers have written hundreds of letters to Edward asking if he’d seen their loved ones on the flight, giving him advice on how he should live or just checking in on him. Within these letters, Edward finds a sense of purpose on what he needs to do next.
Dear Edward is a book that is both heartbreaking and yet inspirational. Whilst this story is rooted by memories and trauma, the addition of patience, hope and time creates the possibility of blossoming again… and you need to read the book to find out if Edward did!
Dear Edward is out now in hardback and eBook versions from Viking, massive thanks to Ellie for sending me over an early copy, I feel so grateful to have experienced this incredible story.
Until next time, Chloé x