Author: N. D. Gomes
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Publication Date: October 20th 2016
Format: eARC (222 pages)
Synopsis: Death should never meet the young. But it did. Thanks to my brother, death made fourteen new friends that day. Maybe even fifteen, if you count Charlie.
At sixteen, Sam Macmillan is supposed to be thinking about girls, homework and his upcoming application to music college, not picking up the pieces after the school shooting that his brother Charlie committed.
Yet as Sam desperately tries to hang on to the memories he has of his brother, the media storm surrounding their family threatens to destroy everything. And Sam has to question all he thought he knew about life, death, right and wrong.
My Rating: ★★★★
Dear Charlie is the heart-wrenching story of Sam Macmillan and his parents as they try to continue their lives in the wake of a tragedy committed by Sam’s brother Charlie.
How did Sam’s loving brother Charlie commit such a devastating act? Why did Charlie take the lives of so many innocent people at Pembrook Academy? What drove Charlie to do this and then take his own life? These are all questions that plague Sam like a disease. Sam is left to deal with the consequences of his brother’s final actions: he has no friends, his father is drinking, his mother cannot let go, he has to start in a new school, the hate mail, the graffiti, the media hunt. Dear Charlie explores the consequences of being a family member to someone who commits an unforgivable crime, in this case, a school shooting and mass murder.
This book is not entertaining. It is not fun. It is certainly not an easy read. It is, however, an emotionally charged read that explores human nature in many forms. As Sam struggles to move on, we see him come to terms with his own feelings: upset, anger, loneliness and finally hope. Hope that at some point his life can return to normal and he will no longer be looked upon as ‘Charlie’s brother’.
This book reminds us that in the aftermath of such tragedies, it is not only the victims families who hurt. We so often overlook the family of the killer that we forget how much this act has changed their lives forever. This book dealt with that so well. It showed the significant difficulties that Sam and his family faced and I really felt that they were very realistic.
This is a beautifully written, emotionally driven and heart-wrenching read. I would highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for my copy in exchange for an honest review.
Have you read Dear Charlie? What did you think?
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Wow. What a great topic for the author to explore. Happy to hear Gomes did it justice. I agree that most people don’t view the family as victims. A lot of times we view them as an extension of the shooter, as someone who deserves the blame. Great review. I haven’t read this, but appreciate a book that scratches past the surface of current issues.
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Thank you for such a lovely comment! Gomes did such a great job of exploring what it’s like to be the family of the perpetrator. It was really eye opening and made me stop and think, especially about the influence of the media. I highly recommend if you get the chance!
It’s definitely on my TBR. It seems like a mind shift we all oiled benefit from 🙂 ❤
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