My Dearest Jonah

Matthew Crow

After finishing this book, I have decided that I liked it more than I thought I would. It was different from what I was expecting, probably because the Netgalley synopsis was a bit vague as to what it was about. But I still enjoyed it and think that Crow created an interesting story.

My Dearest Jonah is about two people, Jonah and Verity, who met through a pen-pal service and had been writing letters to each other for a while. They are each at strange points in their lives and sometimes get caught up in bad things. Once you get far enough into the book, you will see that the two of them are very similar: they are both tough survivors, independent, but needing the other emotionally. Both Jonah and Verity are being followed by people looking to hurt them or take something from them. Their situations become intertwined and they look to each other for guidance. In the end you learn surprising things about the two of them and discover that their fates weren't entirely unavoidable.

This novel is written in the form of letter correspondences and it is unclear whether the two have ever met in person (although I think they haven't). I usually don't like books that are written in letter from because it tends to be a lazy way of building the story and there is basically no connections made between the characters of these stories. My Dearest Jonah was not much better than those books in this regard. It felt like the letters were only chunks of the story with "Dear Jonah/Verity" and "Sincerely, Verity/Jonah" at the beginnings and ends. Some people would say this is a good thing, that the plot has continuity and flows like this but I think that it didn't work out so well in My Dearest Jonah. Of course, the letters didn't sound like real letters but I wouldn't expect them to. There is a lot of dialogue and that also felt a bit unrealistic, which makes me think that another format would have been better for this story.

Jonah and Verity supposedly have a close relationship. And they kind of do, I mean, they tell each other about their criminal lives. But it felt awkward that the letters were so disconnected. For example, they never actually addressed anything said in the other's letters and only briefly discussed their letter exchange. I think some readers might feel like this makes them seem self-centered and trying to outdo the other's problems by only focusing on their own. Maybe also because I was expecting a book more about their relationship and a normal pen-pal exchange I was surprised by how they talked to each other. It is obvious that they care for each other but it felt like they were only there for the other's emotional support.

I would still recommend reading My Dearest Jonah. It is well written and fast paced (especially the ending). It sometimes felt a bit confusing but overall was a good book.

Book tags: dearest, jonah, epub, download, epub, matthew crow

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