She read almost too young; and I think that that’s the bottom line: she’s too young to be dealing with all that she had to. Then what she’s dealing, how it’s slowly and painfully revealed was done in a way that me even more shocked and pissed on her behalf.
That hero-worship, idealized vision she had of who her sister was is made complicated by the darker feelings she holds, those of anger and guilt and betrayal all made LETTERS a compelling read. Despite the narrator’s young voice, there’s still truth to all she’s feeling. The connections as sisters; the changes to that brought forth by the other one growing up; the roles they’d assign themselves and the shifts there because of outside factors… then a tragedy that’s left her struggling to deal with a matter she’s so obviously ill-equipped to deal with.
New day, new school; aunt instead of mother; father instead of mother and only part time at that; then out-there girls instead of the sister she’d come to count on: everything’s was changing at a point when the worst thing had just happened, so that the newness of things for her is colored by this nostalgia for what things were like with her sister in the picture and notions of what could have been for her had she stayed in said picture.
Some parts in LETTERS worked for me; yet a lot more didn’t. The letters to those she picked were yet another link to her idolized sister. Yet in the latter’s absence there’s growth in that world making it clear she’s trying to be her own person… and eventually she does become her own person. But in the meantime, it’s that the younger couldn’t be her own person and WHY that was which sort of broke my heart. Yet, it’s in seeing parallels with the lives of the rich and broken that felt a touch to precocious and precious and there fore unreal to me.
I too liked the boy because he’s not perfect; that imperfection had him reading MOST REAL to me. The imperfection of all their reactions, in fact, is what made them all real for me. It’s each their imperfect (re)actions that hit hardest.
Thank you, Net Galley!