Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano
A luminous, life-affirming novel about a 12-year-old boy who is the sole survivor of a deadly plane crash
One summer morning, a flight takes off from New York to Los Angeles. There are 216 passengers aboard: among them a young woman taking a pregnancy test in the airplane toilet; a Wall Street millionaire flirting with the air hostess; an injured soldier returning from Afghanistan; and two beleaguered parents moving across the country with their adolescent sons, bickering over who gets the window seat. When the plane suddenly crashes in a field in Colorado, the younger of these boys, 12-year-old Edward Adler, is the sole survivor.
Dear Edward depicts Edward’s life in the crash’s aftermath as he struggles to make sense of the meaning of his survival, the strangeness of his sudden fame, and find his place in the world without his family. In his new home with his aunt and uncle, the only solace comes from his friendship with the girl next door, Shay. Together Edward and Shay make a startling discovery: hidden in his uncle’s garage are sacks of letters from the relatives of the other passengers, addressed to Edward.
As Edward comes of age against the backdrop of sudden tragedy, he must confront some of life’s most profound questions: how do we make the most of the time we are given? And what does it mean not just to survive, but to truly live?
‘A rich, big-hearted tapestry. Fans of Room and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close will be spellbound by Dear Edward‘ Chloe Benjamin, author of The Immortalists
‘A profoundly beautiful, page-turning story of mystery, loss, and wonder’ Hannah Tinti, author of The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley and The Good Thief
‘Dear Edward is a masterpiece that should be at the top of everyone’s reading list.’ J. Courtney Sullivan, bestselling author of Saints for All Occasions
‘I loved Dear Edward so, so much. It made me laugh and weep. Magnificent!’ Lily King, author of Euphoria
Eddie Adler’s life changes dramatically when he becomes the sole survivor of a plane crash. His family are dead and he is taken in by his aunt and uncle, who try to help Eddie rebuild his life both physically and mentally.
The twelve-year-old asks that he should now be referred to as Edward, preferring Eddie to stay in the past along with the memories of his mother, father, and brother. It is incredibly hard not to really feel for the grief-stricken, traumatised child who finds even the simplest acts like eating and sleeping incredibly difficult.
The story moves between two timelines, the passengers on the airline and the lead up to the crash and Edward’s recovery. His childless aunt and uncle try to connect but they have been thrown into the unknown and you feel their desperation to do the right thing. However, Edward finds a true friend in Shay, a young girl who lives next door.
Dear Edward is about the stages of grief and the slow, harsh road to acceptance. It’s heartbreaking, real and brings out emotions that you thought were well hidden. The fact that the story revolves around such a young boy makes the storyline even more powerful and the way that Ann Napolitano describes emotions is extremely profound. I loved the sensitivity that comes through and although the story is about sadness, it also lifts you and makes you want to reach out to your loved ones.
Thank you to Ellie from Viking, (Penguin) for a copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly.