Saturday, September 1, 2012

Abby Slovin's Letters in Cardboard Boxes

Letters in Cardboard Boxes is available for purchase at Amazon. You can also buy the digital version from the author's website:

Letters In Cardboard BoxesLetters In Cardboard Boxes by Abby Slovin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book to read for review from the author. This book is well-written, but be forewarned: a sense of melancholy pervades this story. It’s impossible to feel good about Alzheimer’s disease but Ms. Slovin doesn’t run from this emotion; she embraces it. This is a book to reserve for a rainy day, when you want to have a good cry with the sky or stare out of the window and contemplate the passing of time.

On the plus side, a mutual love of wine is one of the traditions that Dotty passes on to her grand-daughter Parker. This book goes well with a couple glasses of wine. Ms. Sloven does everything she can to draw her readers into this story, inviting us to come share these emotions with her characters.

Self-absorbed Parker has problems with her life. She’s erected a thick wall around herself, to avoid getting close to anyone and has adopted apathy to avoid emotions and situations that are out of her control. She’s a hard person to love.

Parker’s grandmother Dotty is everything that Parker is not: light-hearted, fun, caring, and social. She emphasizes all of Parker’s flaws.

The Alzheimer’s disease propels the story forward, forcing Parker to reexamine the direction her life is taking. She must also go through Dotty’s personal possessions and comes across boxes of old letters and photographs. Parker learns more about Dotty through the old letters and we, the readers, find that the two characters aren’t so different after all.

This book ends realistically – which I like, because life so rarely wraps itself up so neat and prettily. The book ends as Parker begins taking the steps to reclaim a sense of self and start a new life, becoming more like the grandmother that we fell in love with at the beginning of the book. Family passes down more than just tradition; it shapes who we are.

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