It is a truth universal that one cannot judge a book by its cover. Or should not, in any case. Sometimes, even if you do take the time to read samples and other reviews you really still cannot predict a wonderful book. You’re as likely to pick one that says absolutely nothing to you.
I did mostly feel that way about Dear Mr. You, except for one sentence on page 60. “Time should weep for having spent me without you.” I cannot get it out of my head–it just runs around in there like a hamster on a spinning wheel.
On the other hand, I didn’t find much else to like in the book, which struck me as disjointed and confusing and even a bit pretentious. There are a bunch (34) of letters written to various men encountered in her life by Ms. Parker. Or not. Because we are also told that some of these people are imaginary. This sort of premise keeps one off-balance for too much of the time. “Is this real?” the reader keeps asking, but there are no answers.
It is literate, and to be sure, she does know all the words, even those not usually found in polite society. But then, as an actress in this era where ‘let it all hang out’ claims to provide blanket exemption from such standards, I suspect she would have been exposed to many more of them than most of us are.
It’s also somewhat strange to write a letter to someone in which you tell that someone of certain things they did or did not do, usually prefaced by, ‘and then you (whoever) did _________, or said __________.’ It’s as if the person addressed has no knowledge or memory of ever having done such a thing, and needs to be reminded of it.
But still – there is that one sentence. That’s more than I sometimes find in the entirety of other books. I suspect there is little middle ground with this book. One either ‘gets it’ and loves it or one really, seriously wants to throw it against the wall. I find myself squarely in the middle on this one.
First and foremost, Kelly is a reader, then a writer and editor. She adores Regency-set novels, and cozy mysteries. Every now and then, however, she finds something else to enjoy if it has a great premise with characters who belong in there, and fabulous writing! She writes under her own name, as well as her pen-name, Hetty St. James.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Scribner. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.