Instead of playing the part of two single thirty-somethings as predicted, what if two strangers at a wedding got to know one another through written letters.
Breathless in a coat closet, John and Jane decide to do just that. Instead of adding another social mis-step to each’s already sordid past, they agree to hash it all out. Get to know each other. Not through banal conversations over safe dinners, but through letters. Confessions, more specifically. Familiarity through mistakes. John and Jane agree to recount all their past; good, bad, ugly – the “greatest hits’ of a love life. The letters only make sense with their distance; John living in New York City and Jane in Philadelphia.
John’s letters, written by Steve Almond, are honest and funny, and beautifully written. A sense of awe that a man could put these thoughts to paper, and jealousy that he is not in your life; even if he is fictional. Jane’s letters are written by Julianna Baggott – Jane is humorous, but can be a little harsh at times – such is the price with a woman who will speak her mind, truthfully if not always tactfully.
This book is what fabulous writing is about. Realistic, it leaves you cheering for these two less-than-ordinary, remarkable individuals. Hoping everything will work out right for them in the end. The story leaves a pleasant little smile on the face of the reader who knows they themselves are not commonplace, and excited for the possibilities that could mean.
Which Brings Me To You: A Novel in Confessions by Steve Almond and Julianna Baggott