Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano

Dear Edward tells the story of a lone child survivor of a plane crash. His family perishes and he goes to live with his Aunt and Uncle. The timeline switches between the point of view of various passengers (including Edward and his family) and the aftermath from Edward’s perspective. My primary criticism is that I did not find the characters relatable. I understand the premise, we are getting to know each passenger, their back story and so forth. But it felt forced and I did not come to care about any of them. The passengers are stereotypes: PTSD war vet; hard hitting businessmen; whimsical psychic; neurotic young woman hoping for a proposal. Plus the characters in the aftermath (Aunt, Uncle, friend and Mum) were irritating. In particular, the friend is perhaps supposed to be on the spectrum, but it’s not clearly written enough to be sure and as a consequence her behaviour seems bizarre. The best written character was Edward. The author captured the essence of what it is to be bereaved in him. Though I was less compelled by the specifics of his grief, it felt more as if he had lost someone in a typical fashion rather than his whole family to a plane wreck. I was prepared to handle the emotional and difficult to read description of a plane crash (the precise event of which, let’s not forget, is based on a true story) if the characters were worth it, but for me they were not.