Dear Edward: About Before and After the Crash

Dear Edward

By Ann Napolitano

Published 2020

Read Dec 2020

Twelve year old Eddie Adler and his family—parents Bruce and Jane, fifteen year old brother Jordan—board a flight leaving Newark airport for LA.  They are moving from New York City to Los Angeles; their possessions are on a truck and will meet them there.  Unfortunately they don’t make it.  The flight goes down in Colorado and 191 souls are lost.  The only survivor is Eddie. 

Chapters alternate between the day of the flight and Edward’s story after. (Eddie’s Aunt Lacey, Jane’s sister who, with her husband, take Eddie in after the crash, decides that the press should refer to Eddie by his given name, Edward.  That name sticks for him.)   The pace of both parts of the stories is rapid but not hurried.  We get to know Eddie’s family members as well as some of the other passengers as they fly across the country.  We get to know Edward’s aunt and uncle as they struggle to support Edward deal with his trauma and work their way through  their own sadness regarding multiple miscarriages.  Edward’s journey towards a new normal for him rolls out slowly and compassionately. 

This reader devoured this book.  Alternating focus on the flight and Edward’s story both compelled the reader forward but also gave the reader a needed break from each story.  Knowing the crash is coming for these passengers whose hopes and dreams we are learning is difficult.  Relief from Edward’s pain and suffering and the struggles of his aunt and uncle is also welcomed.  But neither story feels neither heavy -handed nor overwrought—hence the desire to keep reading and participating in these multiple stories.

Well done Ann Napolitano!

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