Date Published: January 6, 2020
Book Author: Ann Napolitano
Summary reviewed by:
Bachelor of Arts (BA), University Of California, Santa Barbara 2019
With over 4 years of experience as an analyst. Terrence Timmons is committed to analyzing summaries without compromising on quality.
If you knew the flight was doomed, would you still board? In "Dear Edward," a devastating plane crash binds the destinies of passengers while the lone survivor, a 12-year-old boy named Edward, must forge a new life on solid ground. The narrative unfolds in two parallel timelines. One follows the flight from Newark to Los Angeles, offering glimpses into the lives and secrets of the passengers. Meanwhile, the other timeline centers on Edward's recovery in the home of his aunt and uncle after the crash.
The novel beautifully explores human connections, grief, and the transformative power of survival. Edward's story becomes an emblem of resilience, but it also raises profound questions about living a meaningful life after unimaginable loss. The settings are tangible, the characters are vivid, and the emotions are hauntingly real. The story does not shy away from probing the wounds, but it also celebrates the wonder and mystery of human connection. The path to healing is neither straight nor easy, but it's the unexpected kindnesses and the bonds between strangers that guide Edward, offering hope in the face of desolation.
Spoilers (click here to reveal spoilers)
In the compassionate ending, Edward discovers letters that had been sent to him by the families of other passengers on the plane. These letters were hidden by his aunt and uncle to protect him. Reading them, Edward feels a profound connection to the people who didn't survive and their grieving families. He chooses to honor them by living fully and finding his purpose.
With the guidance of Shay, his new friend, and neighbor, he starts a school club called "The Dead Philosophers Society," embracing the lessons of the past to foster connections among the living. The novel concludes with Edward's understanding that his life is a testament to the passengers' legacy and that he can make a meaningful life by reaching out to others.
Edward Adler: 12-year-old protagonist, survivor of the crash, demonstrates resilience and curiosity; values empathy and connection, as seen in his bond with Shay and his response to the letters.
Shay: Edward’s next-door neighbor and friend, spirited and unconventional; values authenticity and friendship, forming “The Dead Philosophers Society” with Edward.
Aunt Lacey: Edward’s aunt, caring but damaged; values family, takes Edward in and strives to provide a loving home.
Uncle John: Edward’s uncle, practical and supportive; values stability and responsibility, trying to help Edward through practical means.
Grief and Healing: Edward’s journey from loss to acceptance, culminating in the creation of “The Dead Philosophers Society.”
Human Connection: Bonds formed between strangers, both on the plane and in Edward’s new life, showing how intertwined human lives can be.
Resilience and Transformation: Edward’s growth from a lost child to a compassionate young man, symbolized by his embrace of the passengers’ legacy.
The Mystery of Existence: Questions about fate, existence, and the meaning of life run through the novel, explored through the passengers’ stories and Edward’s recovery.