Friday, April 17, 2015

Book #16: Dear Mr. Knightley

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Every once in a while, I spend a couple hours browsing the library's e-book selection and adding things to my "wish list" as they strike my fancy. Yesterday, I was going through my wish list looking for something different to read and stumbled upon this book. I can't remember if I found it in the inspirational fiction section or just general fiction, but while it was decidedly clean and had Christian principles and discussion, it was way different than my usual inspirational fiction, so I'm including it in my 30 Before 30.

The Amazon synopsis says:
Sam is, to say the least, bookish. An English major of the highest order, her diet has always been Austen, Dickens, and Shakespeare. The problem is, both her prose and conversation tend to be more Elizabeth Bennet than Samantha Moore.
But life for the twenty-three-year-old orphan is about to get stranger than fiction. An anonymous, Dickensian benefactor (calling himself Mr. Knightley) offers to put Sam through Northwestern University’s prestigious Medill School of Journalism. There is only one catch: Sam must write frequent letters to the mysterious donor, detailing her progress.
As I recently admitted, I'm not necessarily a fan of the classics like Sam's character is in this book, so I wasn't sure how much I would enjoy this book. I had nothing to worry about, though. I. Loved. This. Book. I loved it so much that I stayed up until 1 a.m. to finish it.

It was much less preachy than my usual Christian fiction. I didn't even realize it was a Christian book until I was at least halfway through. (Although I should've known as soon as the non-Christian character refused to sleep with her boyfriend. Haha.)

At first, I didn't identify much with Sam's character. She was a foster kid with a rough past who has some serious defense mechanisms in place to keep herself from getting hurt. I had a picture perfect childhood and am a pretty open book about everything. Very few defense mechanisms in place here. But as the story continues, I found myself with more and more in common with her. She grew up lost in books. Check. She was an English major. Check. She got thrown into journalism school instead of writing fiction and was completely disillusioned. Check-ish. No graduate school for me, but the journalism classes I took shredded my self-esteem and made me seriously question everything I'd ever written.

The majority of the book is written in letter form as Sam writes to "Mr. Knightley" - her mysterious benefactor. I thought the style would bother me, but it was really natural and seamless. I loved it.

One other parallel I drew between Sam's life and mine is that she finds comfort in the anonymity of writing to a man she doesn't know (and who doesn't respond to her letters). Yet, she's mortified at the idea of meeting him in real life because he knows so much about her. I sometimes feel that way about my blog. Sitting in my house with an empty screen in front of me I have no problem pouring out my thoughts and feelings into blog entries. Yes, I get replies. Yes, I know people read them. But sometimes I'm embarrassed at who reads them and how much people know about me. Haha. Don't get me wrong. It's also a huge benefit. I tend to be a little socially awkward in person, so I love that people have the chance to get to know me through my blog and we have a jumping-off point when we meet in real life. But it's also a little unnerving that people know so much about me when I don't always know as much about them. Rabbit trail . . .

Back to the point, this book was incredibly written. The story is beautiful. The romance is wonderful. There's a fun twist that I admittedly saw coming, but still enjoyed. I highly, highly recommend it!!

1 comment:

  1. This book is a modern retelling of the classic "daddy long legs" by Jean Webster. :)

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