Friday, September 28, 2018

P.S. I Miss You, by Jen Petro-Roy

When Evie's older sister Cilla finds herself pregnant, their ultra-religious parents ship Cilla off to Aunt Maureen to have the baby.  Evie devotedly writes her sister almost every day, but doesn't hear back.  While this hurts (and Evie occasionally gets angry at the silence) it doesn't discourage her from writing.  In doing so, she shares secrets ranging from a girl crush on her BFF June to her doubts about her faith.

The novel, made up nearly solely of this one-way correspondence, tracks Evie's development from scarred and lonely younger sibling to a young woman willing to challenge her parents and their destructive creed.  The plot takes a while to get going.  It is hard to build much excitement around what is essentially a monologue.  But ultimately (with a little ratcheting up of the drama) the story and Evie's growth become truly interesting.

For a book that could have been quite inflammatory, it is surprisingly even handed and fair to religion.  The parent's intolerance is clear, but not harped on.  There are even some signs of softening (especially from the mother) which help to explain their behavior and make them more sympathetic.  This makes the ultimately tragic ending more effective and memorable.

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