Book Review

Book Review: Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

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You think you know someone, but that person always changes, and you keep changing, too. I understood it suddenly, how that’s what being alive means. Our own invisible plates shifting inside of our bodies, beginning to align into the people we are going to become.

Love Letters to the Dead is the debut novel of American author Ava Dellaira published in 2014. A young adult novel that circles around the life of Laurel, a teen-aged girl who have recently lost her sister to an accident. Set in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the book was written through the various letters Laurel has written to famous dead people.

Laurel is a fifteen-year-old girl bound to start her new life at a new high school in her town. Her English teacher asked their class to write a letter to a dead person and that is basically how this novel started out. Through these written letters, the story of how Laurel’s sister died and how she’s finding it difficult to deal with this loss was unraveled. The book was generally about a girl’s emotions towards losing someone important in her life and how she continue to live it after the loss.

I liked how Laurel’s character was introduced and how from every chapter, her life and personality have materialized from her written letters to the dead. Much to my disappointment, I did not enjoy this book in general . I’ve always loved reading YA novels but this one did not quite hit the spot for me. It was like reading the journal of 15-year-old emotional girl and I felt that there is nothing exciting about her story.

I’d rate this 1 out of 5 stars for the lack of depth in the story and character involvement. It was like Laurel (and her dead sister) were the only focal point/s in the story and the tone was always bleak and sad. The author could have written more events that could have shown strength in the characters and the message of the book.

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Book Review

Book Review: Fear of Flying by Erica Jong

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There’s nothing good about being ordinary. People don’t respect you for it. People run after people who are different, who have confidence in their own taste, who don’t run with the herd. There is nothing gained by giving in to the pressures of group vulgarity.

Fear of Flying is a 1973 novel by American poet and novelist, Erica Jong. Set in Europe, the book was written in the first person narrative through the voice of the protagonist, Isadora Wing. It tells mainly her story and how she struggles to find her place in a world where a woman’s place was already pre-determined by most of what people think is and should be.

Isadora and her husband flew to Vienna to attend an event for psychoanalysts and there she met Adrian, an Englishman she found herself so attracted with. Adrian felt the same attraction and offered Isadora to run away and live a “care-free” life with him, one that sounded appealing to her. After hesitating between choosing to stay with his husband or to elope with Adrian, she chose the latter and together, they travel all over Europe.

More than the infidelity depicted in the novel, the heart of it all is Isadora and how she grew up to be this woman who find it hard to put a definition to love, or to life in general. She felt trapped in a marriage that for her, had lost its glory. She felt like people around her (family & friends) have been dictating her all her life. She felt like she is not living her life to the fullest.

It tells how Isadora finds it offending to go with the flow and be ordinary just like everyone else. Though there is nothing wrong with being ordinary, she believes that there is a far more greater purpose in life for her than to just simply get married, be a housewife and a mother eventually. She didn’t share that same domestic sentiment as with the majority of the female population (at that time) felt.

I loved how Erica Jong have bravely talked about these things that a typical woman is too scared to even think about. I loved how she values the individuality of Isadora and made an adventure with her struggle to find and embrace it wholeheartedly. I loved how she showed Isadora’s stubbornness and insistence to be known as her own person and not as somebody’s wife or somebody’s daughter. I loved how she openly talked about the realities of a married life and how people get through all these hurdles.

I loved this book for the message it conveyed to its women readers that it’s OK to want more and give more to yourself. I’d give it a 4 out of 5 stars rating for I thought that the plot and characters were elaborately written. It easily became one of my favorite books of all time.