Review: When You Read This by Mary Adkins
|When You Read This|
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
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