Dear Edward. Finished 3-16-20, 4.5/5 stars, fiction, 352 pages, pub. 2020
One summer morning, twelve-year-old Edward Adler, his beloved older brother, his parents, and 183 other passengers board a flight in Newark headed for Los Angeles. Among them is a Wall Street wunderkind, a young woman coming to terms with an unexpected pregnancy, an injured vet returning from Afghanistan, a septuagenarian business tycoon, and a free-spirited woman running away from her controlling husband. And then, tragically, the plane crashes. Edward is the sole survivor.
Edward’s story captures the attention of the nation, but he struggles to find a place for himself in a world without his family. He continues to feel that a piece of him has been left in the sky, forever tied to the plane and all of his fellow passengers. But then he makes an unexpected discovery–one that will lead him to the answers of some of life’s most profound questions: When you’ve lost everything, how do find yourself? How do you discover your purpose? What does it mean not just to survive, but to truly live? from Goodreads
The Adlers were moving from New York City to Los Angeles when the unthinkable happens and Eddie is left the lone survivor of the plane crash. Taken in by his aunt and uncle the three try to find some normalcy. Eddie becomes Edward and because of his miracle status is able to navigate his early teen years in his own way. From the beginning he latches on to Shay, his next door neighbor, and she becomes his lifeline.
More than just a coming of age story for a boy who loses almost everything, it also tells the tales of the other passengers on the doomed plane. The military man who is going home to the drugged out Wall Street guy making the moves on the flight attendant, the stories add to the heft of Edward’s new life. Their lives become a part of his own.
The two points in time, current day and the hours in the air on the flight, alternate with suspense building for why the plane came down and what his miraculous survival means for Edward’s life. In the end, Edward turns 18 and we find out what happened on the flight and I was left both sad and hopeful. The dual story lines do seem like a downer, but Edward’s search for meaning and in the people who reach out to him after touched my heart.