2009 Re-Read Challenge
Letters to Kelly by Suzanne Brockmann
This is for Nath's Re-Reading Challenge. I haven't formally signed up for her challenge because in truth I rarely re-read even though my bookshelves are full of books I love. My theory has always been that when I'm old and can't afford books my shelves will be full of all these great books to re-read. This book fits that premise to a 'T'.
Every once in awhile, as I mentioned in previous posts, a book from the past pops into my head and just won't let go. The irony of this is that on any other day you may mention the title of the very same book and I will look at you with a blank stare. My brain and books are tricky like that.
So I fell into the re-read challenge because LETTERS TO KELLY just wouldn't leave me alone.
In this story the H/H meet when she is only 12 years old. Of course Jax doesn't have any romantic feelings for his best friend's little sister right then, but over the course of the next several years he watches her grow up and his feelings change.
Kelly O'Brien is not your average 17-year old. For one thing her parents have made sure she has a good sense of self. Sure she thinks Jax is fun, good looking, smart and a good person, but she isn't a little girl following her brother's best friend around wearing her heart on her sleeve and carrying a trunk sized crush. She has plans for herself and her life.
When her date gets sick and can't go to prom, Jax who has been waiting for Kelly to get a little older, volunteers to take her instead. They have a wonderful evening, stay out too late and almost cross a line that Jax had promised Kelly's brother, and himself, he wouldn't.
The argument and split friendship that follow are not only plausible but realistic. Ms. Brockmann does well to portray the worry, betrayal and outrage a friend might feel finding his kid sister in a clinch with someone seven years older than she is.
What happens? Separation. A separation that is painful for both of them, but in drastically different ways. More than three years go by. Between them they survive marriage, divorce, going back to college and imprisonment in a Third World country.
This little category romance explores whether or not their individual experiences apart have created too great a chasm for them to cross to begin again. Trust, obviously, plays a big part of this.
I enjoyed my second reading of this story. I thought that Ms. Brockmann had just the right touch dealing with the age difference and did so honestly. I picked this up thinking that Jax had been a soldier. I was surprised, but not disappointed when I remembered and realized he was a journalist and not a man in the military. However, my memory of the sensibility of a young man being far away from home and longing for the people he loves was present and tangible. I'm glad I read this one again.