Dear Edward follows 12 year old Edward Adler in the aftermath of having been the sole survivor of a plane crash which took the lives of his family and 188 others.

What I love most about this book is that it is very much character-driven. There are people in Edward’s circle – John, Lacey, Shay – and then there are the intertwined stories of the passengers on the plane. What came through was Napolitano’s deep respect for the latter especially, they were treated as fully realised individuals and over the course of the novel we explored each of them in turn. There was the good-looking stewardess, the solider returning to the real world, the eccentric billionaire, the hotshot Wall Street trader, the naΓ―ve 20-something, a bedazzled 40-something, and of course Edward’s mother, father, and brother. I felt invested in every single one of them, and that’s no mean feat. Often I leave a book with my tendrils holding onto a few characters, not the entire cast.

I loved reading the dynamics between Edward and the new people in his life. His friendship with Shay was precious. The relationship with John and Lacey felt so pedestrian, yet so authentic.

I found the juggling of the dual timelines of the hours leading up to the crash and the years post-crash as Edward came of age was executed brilliantly. The pacing of the novel felt right, so right in fact that I finished this within 24 hours. I could not get enough.

Verdict

Highly recommended. Dear Edward reminded me tonally of A Little Life, only gentler. It is a post-trauma coming-of-age story that treats her characters and their relationships with the upmost humility and care, or so that is how it came across to me. It is a treasure of a story that does not necessarily set the world alight, but stokes the fire enough to keep you warm and keep you reading.


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