Dear Reader by Mary O’Connell
Genres/Themes: Wuthering Heights, YA, Magical Realism, Romance, Suicide,
*insert groan here*
Synopsis from Goodreads:
For seventeen-year-old Flannery Fields, the only respite from the plaid-skirted mean girls at Sacred Heart High School at is her beloved teacher Miss Sweeney’s AP English class. But when Miss Sweeney doesn’t show up to teach Flannery’s favorite book, Wuthering Heights, leaving behind her purse, Flannery knows something is wrong.
The police are called, and Flannery gives them everything—except Miss Sweeney’s copy of Wuthering Heights. This she holds onto. And good thing she does, because when she opens it, it has somehow transformed into Miss Sweeney’s real-time diary. It seems Miss Sweeney is in New York City—and she’s in trouble.
So Flannery does something very unFlannery-like: she skips school and sets out for Manhattan, with the book as her guide. But as soon as she arrives, she meets a boy named Heath. Heath is British, on a gap year, incredibly smart—yet he’s never heard of Albert Einstein or Anne Frank. In fact, Flannery can’t help thinking that he seems to have stepped from the pages of Brontë’s novel. Could it be?
With inimitable wit and heart, Mary O’Connell has crafted a love letter to reading, to the books that make us who we are. Dear Reader, charming and heartbreaking, is a novel about finding your people, on the page in the world.
I pretty much stopped reading at 50%, skipped forward a bit to see if anything interesting would be there– was interested, kept reading– got annoyed, skimmed and read only the teacher’s POV–annoyed, but I finished anyhow.
What I liked: *insert long pause*
I liked… Brandon was pretty cool, until he was an ass, but drunk I think. I did enjoy the magical copy of Wuthering Heights and how it lead Flannery on an adventure.
What I disliked: Biggest problem for me upfront was all the flowery language and useless paragraphs (pages?).
I also don’t quite understand what the book is about because she didn’t ‘find her people’ and omg she is the worst at tracking people down– KEEP THE BOOK OPEN AND FOLLOW ALONG! That is all she had to do, but she didn’t.
Also, I was really liking Mrs. Sweeney and wondering if she loved this guy so much, wtf happened? Oh, [Spoiler]you effing cheated on him. I don’t want to sympathize with a cheater– how dare she. [/Spoiler] I see how she was supposed to represent Cathy (from Wuthering Heights in the past (right?) but I almost threw the book. Poor, Brandon– what an amazing person he was, with shitty luck.
The ending also did not sit right with me and totally didn’t get it. Also, where is Heath and how was he (as the synopsis says) ‘seems to have stepped from the pages of Brontë’s novel’ yeah, I did not see that at all.
An interesting idea, but I really couldn’t get into it.