‘Love letters to the dead’ by ava dellaira was supposed to be June’s book but due to Sam and me being very busy we made it July’s book too. This was a very good idea because I didn’t finish the book untill a few nights ago. I will first recite a part of the twenty-seventh page, why? ( This is why: click):
“Right on. Everyone says Nevermind. That is, everyone who doesn’t really listen.” I smiled and scrambled in my head to keep the conversation going. “Yeah. I really like how he’s … how Kurt sounds like, like he’s exploding from inside.” I couldn’t actually believe I said that.
What’s the story about? The main character is Laurel, she got an assignment in English class and she lost a sister. The assignment is to write a letter to a dead person. She decides to write a letter to Kurt Cobain: ‘She probably meant for us to write to someone like a former president or something, but I need someone to talk to. I couldn’t talk to a president. I can talk to you.‘ She doesn’t turn in the assignment but keeps writing letters to dead people like River Phoenix, Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Heath Ledger etc. She tells them things that happen in her life but also speaks about the life of the person she’s writing to, asks them questions and tries to find the answers to them herself.
What did I think of the book? I didn’t think I’d like it as much as I did. It took me a while to get into it but when I did, oh boy, I read the remaining part in one sitting. It’s a lovely story and I like that you get to know things about the dead people she writes to. I’d highly recommend listening to the music of the artist she’s writing to ( if it’s a musician of course) whilst reading. Or if it’s an actor or actress, watch a movie with him or her in it before you read the letter ( the letters will make much more sense this way). What I’m basically saying, this book is a project, you have to put time in it if you want the full experience ( it’s worth it).
Throughout the book you get to know the bond between Laurel and her sister May. I have a little sister myself and some of the parts were recognizable. Like the part I’m going to recite to you in a bit. It’s the feeling I get reading this part not the events that happen necessarily. The biggest difference is that Laurel’s favorite holiday is Halloween, Christmas is the favorite holiday of my sister and me.
I remember the first year Mom and Dad let us go trick or treating alone. I was seven and May had just turned ten. She convinced them that double digits meant she was grown-up enough to shepherd me along our block. We ran up to each house, the fairy wings we carried on our backs flapping behind us, ahead of the kids who had their parents in tow. Every time a front door would open, May would put her arm around me, and it felt like she would always protect me. When we got home, our noses were ice-cold, and our paper bags, decorated with cotton ghosts and tissue paper witches, were full. We emptied our candy onto the living room floor to count it up, and Mom brought us hot cider. I remember the feeling of that night so much, because it was like you could be free and safe at once.
I have a memory that gives me the exact feeling that reading this little part does. Since my sister and I were very little (babies actually) our parents take us to Austria for the Christmas holidays. Because of this we learned to ski at a very young age and I almost always loved it. My sister had to get used to it a little bit I believe. The ski resort we always visit (my grandparents have a vacation home in that area) has a piste especially for kids and beginners. It’s a small piste, the high end is a bit steep but the biggest part is just gradually descending. At the sides of the piste are restaurants that look out over it.
In my memory my sister and I were just a bit older than Laurel and May in Laurel’s memory but still way too young to go roaming the ski resort by ourselves. There was this one place though where we were permitted to ski alone. Yeah, you guessed it, the kids/beginners piste. At the end of the day, the lifts almost making their final rounds, our (grand-) parents in one of the restaurants keeping close watch, we skied alone. We would go up and down until the lift-operators would call final round, alternately being the one that lead and the one that followed. We would go as fast as we dared. We were free.
When we were done we would get something to drink and mannerkuchen (a delicious sort of cookie) at the restaurant or head straight home. The second one I loved the most. By this time we already changed into our moonboots (Ski-shoes hurt after a while) but getting those off as well and warming our feet and the rest of our bodies in fresh PJ’s and under our favorite blankets, nothing can top that feeling. We’d be dead tired of skiing the whole day, still we wanted to stay up, watch telly and eat crisps. Our parents usually let us (or even join in). So there we were, two tired little girls, sitting on our beanbags in front of the television, blankets up till our chins (one hand was mostly out though, to feed ourselves the crisps). We’d hear the fire in the fireplace crackle and our (grand-) parents talking in the background. In that moment, we were safe.
Final Verdict: Needless to say, I loved it. Thank you Sam for making me read this book, I’d never pick it myself. Read her review over here.
( What are these things? Find out here)
P.s. this morning when the news that Robin Williams had died reached me, I felt sad. He was one of my favorite actors and his stand up always made me laugh and sometimes (because of the sharp and painful reality of it) it made me think. You weren’t dead in time to be included in this book ( yeah you missed that deadline (sorry, joke had to be made)) but I’m sure Laurel would’ve written you a letter as well. Thank you, you were a special soul Mr. Williams.