BOOK REVIEW: LOVE LETTERS TO THE DEAD by AVA DELLAIRA
April 15, 2014
If you have read Perks of Being Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, you’d want to read this one too. And I am sure, you’ll love it! This is my second debutante book this year (after Adelle Waldman’s Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.) and I am must say, it’s getting better the more I go for debutantes.
Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira is an exceptional book. Written in the form of letters which begins as an assignment for English class, ‘Write a letter to a dead person’, Laurel, the narrator, chooses Kurt Cobain because her sister, loved him. Soon, Laurel has a notebook full of letters to people like Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Amelia Earhart, Heath Ledger, and more; though she never gives a single one of them as an assignment to her teacher. She writes about starting high school, navigating new friendships, falling in love for the first time, learning to live with her splintering family. And, finally, about the abuse she suffered while her sister was supposed to be looking out for her. I do enjoy books which are written in the form of letters or as journals, it makes me feel that I have some kind of connection with the book.
When I started reading it, it didn’t take me long to realize the a bit of similarity between Perks of Being Wallflower and this book. But as I read it more, I felt that it is better written and more expressive than the Perks of Being Wallflower. The plot is well structured, the writing- beautiful, almost lyrical at times and the characterization seems real at times. Reading through the narration of Laurel made me realized a lot of things which are simple yet a thought should be given to them. Death, though a five letter word, can affect a surrounding in a greater aspect and we all know that. The consequences are hard, difficult and can be problematic, deciphering in her own words, “The art of losing isn’t hard to master”, but life goes on. And that’s what Laurel do. She goes on to live with the truth. There is a very nice line about truth in the book. It goes like this: “Truth is beautiful, no matter what that truth is. Even if it’s scary or bad. It is beauty simply because it’s true. And truth is bright. Truth makes you more you”.
I finished this book in two days, though in between at times I felt that I am going offshore with it, and when it starts to feel a bit tedious, something drives me back to the book. I don’t know if it author’s writing or the innocence of the narrator, something drives me back to it everytime when I started to flow away from the text. And it did not happen once, it happened on and off, almost through the book, until I reached later chapters of the book. There is no doubt that Ava Dellaira has written the book beautifully and extraordinarily well and on reading it, a reader can easily feel the time and hard work of the author devoted, through her words. The book certainly one of it’s kind in the literature of 21 st Century.
4.5 out of 5 from me! Recommended!
This review appeared in Hindustan Times Brunch Magazine on June 22, 2014.