Dear Anna, is a short book written by Salt Lake Community College student Jami Brookes Berry. The story is about Anna, a young woman who loses her mother at age 13, and the letters left behind by her mother.
The story is told from a first person perspective with each chapter ending with one her mother’s letters. While Anna’s life is filled with challenges, she never truly connects with the reader.
The best part about Dear Anna, is reading the letters that her mother, Julia, left to Anna for important events in her life. Each letter is sealed in an envelope with an event written on it, such as “the day you graduate” or “the day you turn sixteen.”
The letters are written with a lot of heart and concern which contain honest motherly wisdom. They not only give advice, but also have personal recollections pertaining to the events. I was moved when I read the letter about dealing with the first fight in a marriage, as Julia tells Anna about the first fight she had with her husband and how to deal with future arguments.
The letters are written with more emotion and honesty than the retelling of Anna’s life.
Anna talks directly to the reader and while she tells them that she and her father were sad, she never lets them know how it affected her daily life. I felt a little let down not knowing how Anna’s father dealt with becoming a single father of a teenage daughter.
The moments that Anna does go into detail with are heartbreaking and personal, but they go by quickly. It feels like Anna is holding a checklist of moments that she has to tell the reader about, especially since she tells us about her whole life.
Dear Anna, is a heartfelt story about growing up and the advice only a mother can give her daughter. The book is short and quickly paced, never dwelling on any one given period of time, the emotions are honest and with that I recommend this book for a quick read.