Apr 1, 2019

Review: When You Read This by Mary Adkins

Review: When You Read This by Mary Adkins

When You Read This
When You Read This
Published February 5, 2019, Harper
Genre: epistolary novel (told through letters/email), contemporary fiction

This novel was brilliant. The story is told through blog posts and emails of many different characters, primarily Smith and his former secretary Iris, her sister Jade, and Smith's company intern, Carl. 

We learn at the beginning that Iris has died of cancer and has left Smith her blog posts to publish as a book after her death, her blog written while she was ill and undergoing chemotherapy.  Smith's public relations company is failing but things begin happening when he hires Carl, the college student intern, to replace Iris for a summer. Carl sets things in motion, through bumbling, interfering, and general nosiness about his boss, the business, and about publishing Iris's blog. 

The novel has a lot of humor, as in the emails and readers' responses to Iris's blogs. It also has pathos, sentimentality, and is in part a love story. It will have the reader crying and laughing at the same time, and is a book that I would call brilliant, excellently written and conceived.

Thanks to the publisher for an advance copy for my possible review. 

First chapter, first paragraph:

Simonyi Brand Management
New York, NY 10014

June 18

Dear Mr Simonyi:

I came upon your company on the Stanford University Employers Forum, on which your firm is listed as a place where Stanford students have had positive internship experiences previously. Grace Wang ('16) wrote that she had a wonderful summer working with you and your colleague Iris. While "wonderful" is rather nebulous and uninformative, her point is well made. I see that you have not posted a fall internship opening, but I am writing to express my interest in interning for you come September....


Carl Von Snyder III

Meme: Each Tuesday, Vicki, from I’d Rather Be At The Beach hosts First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros where  readers post the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book that they are reading or plan to read. 


  1. Thanks for sharing. I'm now curious. Thanks for visiting my blog.

  2. I generally love epistolary novels, but it's been a while since I last read one. This sounds good!

  3. I would definitely keep reading.

  4. I'm not sure if I would enjoy the format (I read a similar formatted story and didn't enjoy it) but it sounds like it could be a fun read. See what I'm featuring at Girl Who Reads

  5. Harvee,
    I enjoy well-written epistolary novels. This book sounds "wonderful" to me!


I love getting comments and your thoughts...

The Frederick Sisters Are Living the Dream by Jeannie Zusy: Sunday Salon

  The Frederick Sisters Are Living the Dream: A Novel by   Jeannie Zusy Publication, September 20, 2022, Atria Books Description  A very fun...