Book 16 of my 2016 Reading Challenge
read from February 01 - 03
Dear Mr. You by Mary-Louise Parker
Summary (via Goodreads)
A wonderfully unconventional literary debut from the award-winning actress Mary-Louise Parker.
An extraordinary literary work, Dear Mr. You renders the singular arc of a woman’s life through letters Mary-Louise Parker composes to the men, real and hypothetical, who have informed the person she is today. Beginning with the grandfather she never knew, the letters range from a missive to the beloved priest from her childhood to remembrances of former lovers to an homage to a firefighter she encountered to a heartfelt communication with the uncle of the infant daughter she adopted. Readers will be amazed by the depth and style of these letters, which reveal the complexity and power to be found in relationships both loving and fraught.
Who knew so few words could paint such a vivid picture? The author has an excellent way of telling you everything without telling you anything.
It's an unusual style. We're just thrown in with no backstory, no follow-up, usually no names. It was a little less interesting as she writes to animals but Dear Ceberus was very powerful and my favorite one.
A Few Quotes from the Book
"We all miss you something fierce, those of us who wouldn't exist had you not kept walking when an ordinary person would have fallen to his knees. To convey in any existing language how I miss you isn't possible. It would be like blue trying to describe the ocean."
"I love attempting to describe a thing, but I might love even better the fact that the more words you have available to encode with when you attempt denotation, the farther away you can sail into ambiguity. I could go on about you forever and that might only make you less clear to someone discovering you through my words. We might have had another twenty years to reveal ourselves to each other and not come away as sure of each other as we did."
"You were a living reminder of what I always professed to believe, that you never know what happened to someone that day, so try to cut some slack, but being bound by my own ropes I was unable to give you that. I realize now that whatever I was walking through was a part of my life, one piece of a bigger story that is mostly beautiful.
So, Mr. Cabdriver, I apologize for the profanity and the blame."