It’s been almost eleven years since Rhea Farrell last wrote to her mother.
It was a Friday night ritual – until Rhea’s father decided it was stupid to write letters to a dead person. That was the summer before the accident. The summer before Rhea began to keep her first secret.
Now about to turn eighteen, Rhea finds herself alone on the streets of New York with nobody to talk to about the future, or the past. So, just like she used to do as a little girl, she begins a letter with the words ‘Dear Mum’ and tells her mother the things she can’t tell anyone else.
In the city where Allison Farrell was born, her daughter begins to delve into her past. And as she uncovers more about who her mother truly was, Rhea starts to figure out exactly who she herself wants to be. And that sometimes it takes longer than you think to say goodbye…
I was provided with an eArc from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
After finishing the story, the first thing I asked myself was, how am I feeling? Mad, Glad, Sad, Lonely or Scared? While reading the book I definitely went through all of these emotions, but I would lie if I said it didn’t take me a while until I really got into it.
The book is mostly written in letters and lists, two things I absolutely love, but unfortunately it was extremely difficult for me to empathize with Rhea. The problem is that Rhea has some serious trust issues, which makes it so difficult to really like her. You can feel her hostility ooze off the page sometimes. No matter who is trying to be nice to her, she takes it the wrong way and closes off. I get that her walls are there for a reason. She got hurt by people in the past, in a bad way, but somehow she was in denial about so many things. That was the reason why I had such difficulties connecting to her, really sympathizing with her.
However, after about a 100 pages, I was into the story and it all got a lot more intense in the second half. I wanted to know what happens to Rhea and if she will get her life together again. I wanted her to be able to trust people and let them into her life. Her transformation was great and the messages that came with it as well. Silence can be deadly, especially when it comes to traumatic experiences and you need people in your life who care enough about you to tell the truth.
Another thing I liked was that Rhea is a really diverse main character. She is a young Irish lesbian girl with a disability being homeless in America – that’s not a person you read about every other day. The thing is that none of those things felt like they were pushed on you to make you like her more. They were all just casual parts of her life, something that made her her.
To get back to the question in the beginning, I am glad that I read this book. It gave me an interesting perspective on a unique character (but she could have used the phrase “fifty kinds of crazy” a little less).
Fazit: 3.2/5 stars! I had a lot of difficulties connecting with Rhea, but by the end I really cared about her destiny.