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Book Review - Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

November 8, 2017

This book is a jewel of emotion, angst, love and heartbreak!

 

After a marathon of Romance novels in June and July I thought I change it up in August with a bit of the YA flavour. 

 

Thankfully I had a full supply provided by Bloomsbury on my YA shelf.  Thank you Bloomsbury for sending me this book!

 

Typically I stay away from books with life changing drama, as I feel I have enough of it in my real life, but there was something about the synopsis that just intrigued me.  

 

Juliet Young has always written letters to her mother. Even after her mother's death, she leaves letters at the grave. It's the only thing that helps Juliet cope

 

Declan Murphy is a teenage delinquent troublemaker who is doing community service at the local cemetery. When he finds one of Juliet's letters he can not help him self but reply. 

 

This starts an anonymous friendship between the two and ultimately changing the trajectory of both their lives. 

 

Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer [ | F |  T  ] is a picturesque emotionally charged tale that, depending on what stage of your life you read it, will leave you touched. From the explicit photographic images of children in war zones to beautiful poetry, this book will recharge your souls. There are so many hidden messages sprinkled throughout this book. That I could write a full essay on my thoughts and feelings, instead I'll 'try' to keep it at a reasonable length. 

 

Juliet and Declan are experiencing grief at the same time yet in completely different ways. While one is outwardly distractive the other is internalising the situation. Both are ultimately trying to make sense of their lives and how they fit into the new situation they find them self in. In one way they are the complete opposites yet in others they are the same. 

 

It's so normal, so unassuming. My mother was never like this - she wasn't around enough to see my friends come over all that often. 

 

Juliet has put her late mother on an unreachable pedestal, her mother has entered sainthood which in Juliet's eyes is even beyond her reach. So much so that her need to follow her love of photography is shadowed by her mothers loss and the feeling of never being good enough in comparison. The unfortunate thing is that with her mothers death it means Juliet will never be able to hear her praise and awe of her life's achievements. This is the one thing she misses the most, the recognition and love of her mother.  

 

The need to put her self in the shining light of perfection is not something new however, Juliet has long been trying to impress her world famous photographer mother, who's out in war zones documenting the pain of humanity,  into coming back home and spending more time with her.  

 

Declan has 'lost' his father. After killing his sister in a car accident when driving under the influence of alcohol, Declan's father is in prison and his mother has re-married. The past has defined his and his mothers relationship and now the future is threatened by their miscommunication and miss understanding. 

 

There's not a joy the world can give like that it takes away, when the glow or early thought declines in feelings dull decay

 

It isn't until Juliet and Declan start writing to each other that they find them selfs expressing their emotions and feelings freely. Inadvertently that means that the destructive behaviour patterns they fall into slowly start to change. Juliet is no longer hanging out at her mothers grave every day and night and Declan is accepting other people's help and opinion to change his circumstance. 

 

 

 

"Do not go gentle into that good night" what is Dylan Thomas trying to say "He's afraid" My voice almost cracks. I keep my fist clenched around that tiny ball of paper and my eyes locked on my notebook "He's afraid. That's why he's desperate....."he is afraid of loosing his father" ...."he doesn't want his father to die. He want's him to fight it" 

 

I also liked how the people that invite the most progress in them are in both cases representations of the people they wish they had better relationships with.  

 

In Juliet's case her photography teacher seems dedicated to bring her back to the thing she loves the most and in ways embodies her father. He awakens in her the 'want' to move on and to be her self.  

 

Declan is called out by this English teacher who sees beyond the bad boy exterior and makes it her mission to show Declan that he is special. She show's him patience, understanding and she holds him accountable, something he desperately is seeking from his mother. Acknowledgement of his existence at an emotional level. 

 

This book is a jewel of emotion, angst, love and heartbreak. It proves that only when you shatter the illusions that bind you, can you truly move on. 

 

Lastly the book is filled with beautiful poetry about life and resilience, her is my favourite - by William Ernest Henley 

 

Out of the night that covers me, 

Black as the pit from pole to pole, 

I think whatever gods may be 

For my unconquerable soul. 

 

In the fell clutch of circumstance 

I have not winced nor cried aloud. 

Under the bludgeoning of chance 

My head is bloody, but unbowed. 

 

Beyond this place of wrath and tears 

Looms but the horror of the shade, 

And yet the menace of the years 

Find and shall find me unfraid. 

 

It matters not who strait the gate, 

How charged with punishments the scroll, 

I am the master of my fate,  

I'm the captain of my soul.

 

 

Published by Bloomsbury Australia.

 

AUSTRALIA:  iTunes | Kindle

WORLDWIDE: Amazon | Book Depository 

AUDIOBOOKS: Audible | iTunes

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