I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Dear Mr. You by Mary -Louise Parker
Published by Scribner on November 10, 2015
Genres: Biography & Autobiography, Personal Memoirs,Entertainment & Performing Arts, Literary Collections, Letters
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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.
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Dear Mr. You was both what I expected and a total surprise all in one. It is difficult to set an expectation of a work written by someone you only know as characters. Yes, Mary-Louise Parker is an actual person, but in my mind she is an amalgamation of Nancy from Weeds and Amy from The West Wing so I was unsure what to expect with her writing. Dear Mr. You is a trek through Parker’s life written as letters to the men in her life that helped shape and mold her. Beginning with a letter to the grandfather she never met and continuing all the way to the man who will marry her pre-teen daughter in the future, Parker shares a vulnerability that is palpable. These letters speak to the heart and engage the mind while providing sweeping views of a life well lived. The true heart of the book really began for me about halfway through with the letter Dear Cerberus, with the comparison of the three-headed dog to a man with whom Parker had a tumultuous relationship. From there the letters grow to encompass a firefighter, the uncle of her daughter and a man who is loved. This half of the book was just superb and I have re-read Dear Firefighter at least three times now. Dear Mr. You is not a typical Hollywood memoir in the best of ways.
Favorite lines – “We fell in love, but the way you love a view that comes along once or twice in life. You don’t want to leave it because it feels like, yes of course, this is the perfect spot. Those moments always come with a little shock and I love that sensation, when you think, this is too good, I’ll catch up with everyone else later. You just have to take in the truth of that expanse a few more seconds before it changes and becomes something else entirely, or before you do.”
Have you read Dear Mr. You, or added it to your TBR?