1. relating to, denoting, conducted by, or contained in letters.
2. (of novel or other work) constructed in the form of a series of letters.
In honor of Love Letters to the Dead, a book I just finished a couple of days ago (the review can be found here), I've decided to try to explore my love of the epistolary novel and showcase a few of my favorites.
I've always been a fan of stories told through epistolary methods. Of which I mean not just letters, but also by email, diaries, texts, etc. There a few reasons for this.
The first is that one of the things I both love and miss most about teenage me was the way I was always writing. I wrote journals, poems, stories, and-yes-letters. Most of these letters were really just another way of journaling my feelings about a person by addressing my writing to them--almost always the boy I was crushing on or just broke up with. I'm going to explain how this was almost always the same person. For some reason the following scenrio was 95% of my relationships in high school:
Boy: I like you.
Me: That's cool. I'm going to make this relationship as confusing and as difficult as possible so that you will prove your worth by battling through all my crap to find the real me.
Boy: What? I'm a teenage boy and that just isn't going to happen.
Me: Wait! Where are you going? *Sobs, writes poetry/stories/journals, discusses boy ad naseum with friends.*
Ahem. There were a few reasons for this, I think. The first is that I was just a late bloomer and not ready for a real relationship. The second is that I started reading Harlequin romance novels, Danielle Steel, VC Andrews, Sweet Valley High, etc in, like, the fourth grade. Relationships were supposed to have angst and passion. They weren't supposed to be about watching some dude play Playstation. Finally, I needed something to write about. Looking back at my teen self, I'm pretty sure I put myself through this just so I would have something to write about. Whatever. It was what it was was, and I wouldn't change a minute of it. So these novels written in diary, letter, emails, what-have-you let me reminisce about that time in my life when I was constantly just writing, writing, writing.
The other reason I think I love the epistolary form so much is that it seems like we are getting a truer, deeper look into a character. Third person can only go so far. Even first person can feel distant as somebody is telling a story. When I tell stories, I omit, I change, I exaggerate, etc. BUT when somebody sits down to write they are opening up in a way more personal manner. Books written through journals and letters are showing the real person.
Very few books can compete with my love of Jessica Darling and the books that follow her. Told in journal form, this series follows several years of Jess's life from her formidable high school years through college and beyond. If you haven't read this book, do yourself a favor. If you have, I have two words for you: Marcus Flutie.
This is part of a loosely connected series of three books labeled the "Boy" series. The other two books are Boy Meets Girl and Every Boy's Got One. All three are just these sugar-y sweet (in the best possible way) books told mostly through email.
I'm happily married and child-free. I love reading, movies, margaritas, and my two cats. If I could, I would bottle the smell of a brand-spanking new book and wear it as perfume. I mostly read YA, but will read anything that holds my interest. I've worked in a public library for the past 7 years and hope to remain there for many years to come.