Summary from Goodreads:
After losing everything, a young boy discovers there are still reasons for hope in this luminous, life-affirming novel, perfect for fans of Celeste Ng and Ann Patchett.
In the face of tragedy, what does it take to find joy?
One summer morning, twelve-year-old Edward Adler, his beloved older brother, his parents, and 183 other passengers board a flight in Newark headed for Los Angeles. Among them is a Wall Street wunderkind, a young woman coming to terms with an unexpected pregnancy, an injured vet returning from Afghanistan, a septuagenarian business tycoon, and a free-spirited woman running away from her controlling husband. And then, tragically, the plane crashes. Edward is the sole survivor.
Edward’s story captures the attention of the nation, but he struggles to find a place for himself in a world without his family. He continues to feel that a piece of him has been left in the sky, forever tied to the plane and all of his fellow passengers. But then he makes an unexpected discovery–one that will lead him to the answers of some of life’s most profound questions: When you’ve lost everything, how do find yourself? How do you discover your purpose? What does it mean not just to survive, but to truly live?
Dear Edward is at once a transcendent coming-of-age story, a multidimensional portrait of an unforgettable cast of characters, and a breathtaking illustration of all the ways a broken heart learns to love again.
Dear Edward is a very moving and well-crafted novel about the trauma of loss. Napolitano balanced the alternating storylines – the narrative of the flight itself and Edward’s life after the crash – very well. It’s one of those few novels where the two storylines are fighting one another. We know that the end of the “flight narrative” will end in a crash, there will be few surprises so it serves to fill out Edward’s narrative moving forward. The descriptions of how grief feels, how one carries around trauma like that are spot on. I’d never read Napolitano’s books before but this one makes me think about picking up the others some day.
I think this might be a hard book to read for someone who has experienced a sudden loss like Edward’s or has PTSD but Napolitano doesn’t use the story of the crash as spectacle. There are no gory descriptions and only 3-4 pages of description of the crash itself near the end.
Dear FTC: I read a galley of this book provided to the book club leader (me) at my store.