Books Read in 2020

Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano
This was an enthusiastic choice of Jenna Bush Hager for her Book Club and I was so taken in I ordered it immediately and read it in two days.  She assured people that though there was a sad bit about it, it ended happily.  Well, the "sad part" was about 3/4 of the book, but she's right--the ending made it worthwhile (and was quite unexpected). 

Eddie is a 10 year old child, the only survivor of a plane crash that killed 191 people, including his parents and older brother.  He is taken in by his aunt and uncle, whom he barely knows.  Someone refers to him as "Edward" and the name sticks because he feels "Eddie" died with his family.  Jodi Picoult says this is "that rare book that breaks your heart and stitches it back together again.  Don't miss this one."

The book follows Edward's pain at his loss, his disconnect from others around him, his friendship with next door neighbor Shay and how, over several years, he manages to find meaning in his life again.  The book shifts back and forth from what is going on in the plane before its crash, and what is going on in Edward's life as he remembers bits and pieces of that horrible event.

Napolitano creates a variety of unforgettable characters, from the people on the plane to the people Edward encounters.  His friendship with Shay gives him the only stability he allows himself and thanks to her, he finds the reason for why he has survived and how to make his life meaningful.  A beautiful solution.

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