Friday, January 25, 2013

AimeeKay Review: Letters in Cardboard Boxes by Abby Slovin

Winner of the First Horizon Award for superior work by a debut writer, Letters In Cardboard Boxes tells the story of an eccentric grandmother and her granddaughter alongside a series of fantastical letters they once exchanged. Their letters once traversed the East River to help Parker escape the loneliness of a childhood without her globe-trekking parents and communicate during her turbulent teenage years. Now, nearly a decade later, Parker begins to rediscover this letter writing tradition, as well as the family’s untold stories and, unexpectedly, letters from her grandmother’s own youth that paint a very different portrait of the woman who raised her. 
Letters carries us through the universally-shared experience of loss and the process of coping with life’s unexpected twists and turns. Through unusual and bold characters, the story moves through some of its heavier themes with honesty and humor.

Letters in Cardboard Boxes tells the story of Parker and how she handles her grandmother’s descent into dementia. Another main part of the story is that Parker finds herself struggling to figure out exactly who she herself actually is.

I’m kind of in limbo with this one. The beginning of the story was slow. Really it just seemed to be taking forever to get to where it was going. Near the middle, though more towards the end, it seemed to pick up a little steam. I guess my whole issue was that there was no clear climax or defining moment in the book, just as the ending just ends. I guess it mirrors real life in that way, but still it feels as if something is missing.

I also had a hard time connecting with Parker. She just rubbed me the wrong way. Maybe it was the fact that she just let everything happen to her, she never seemed to be willing to step in a take charge of her own path. *shrug* Not really sure what the exact reason was…I just know that she grated on my nerves. In fact, I felt more concern and interest in some of the other characters in the book then I did in her.

However there were some very moving scenes in the book. Especially between Parker and her grandmother as the book progressed. Some almost brought me to the point of tears. If more of the book had pulled me into it in this way I would be raving about it right now. However it didn’t, instead it just left me feeling slightly annoyed that it hadn’t gotten better earlier on and wishing it had had a more complete ending.


  1. Thanks AimeeKay for the review!

    This still sounds like a moving book. I think I'm pretty curious about the grandmother's part. I did win this book so I'll be reading it hopefully soon!

  2. I sometimes struggle with books like this that are just a snippet of someone's life and don't really have a solid beginning, middle or end. I like there to be that arc that I can follow, and it's hard for me when the story just stops and that's it. I'm glad there were at least a few really moving moments that you enjoyed AimeeKay:):)

  3. Dementia is soo hard. I had to watch my grandma go downhill as well.
    Tough subject-- glad to hear there were some moving scenes but sorry you didn't connect with Parker.
    Happy reading,
    Brandi @ Blkosiner’s Book Blog

  4. I know what you mean, as I read this one. I loved the scenes between the Grandmother and Parker, and yes Parker is difficult to like and I wished that there was more resolution but I guess that is the way real life goes sometimes. I certainly shed a few tears as I miss my grandmothers so much!

  5. Ohit must be an intense story, I don't know if it's for me... but thanks for the review!

  6. I remember Heidi's review for this one. I think it sounds good, but I'm not sure I'd have the patience for the slow bits.

  7. ¨No complete ending do not make me happy. I need those kind of things

  8. Ehh, don' think this book is for me. Thank you for sharing it

  9. This does not sound like something I'd enjoy either. I'm okay with a book mirroring the aimlessness/messiness of real life, as long as the characters draw me in, or it emotionally resonates with me in some way. It sounds like too little too late in this case. Thanks so much for your honest and thoughtful review!

  10. Aaah, I don't like endings that aren't end endings. Sounds good, but just okay too. Thank you.

  11. Thanks for all the comment love!
    Wish I could have liked this one more.


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