Sam's Letters to Jennifer
James Patterson
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Sam's Letters to Jennifer
James Patterson
272 pages
March 2006
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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Click here to read reviewer Vivian Outen's take on Sam's Letters to Jennifer.

A popular newspaper columnist, Jennifer is still reeling from the double loss of her husband and unborn child, and she blames herself for the tragedy. In this crucial time period, Jenniferís beloved grandmother Sam had given her some much needed emotional support. One day, Jennifer gets a call which changes her world - Sam is in the hospital, in a coma. Jennifer returns to Samís hometown of Lake Geneva and at Samís house, finds herself awash in fond memories of childhood summers spent there.

Inside the house, Jennifer finds a stack of letters written by Sam and addressed to her. Even as Jennifer daily visits Sam in the hospital, encouraging her to wake up, she comes home to read the letters in which Sam discloses some deep secrets and by example encourages Jennifer to give love and life a second chance. Providentially, Jennifer meets with an old childhood friend, Brendan, and things soon heat up between them. But when Brendan reveals the truth, will Jennifer be shattered by lifeís repeated cruelty, or will she fight to keep love in her life?

In the tradition of Suzanneís Diary for Nicholas, James Patterson returns with yet another powerful story of love and second chances. Characters are vividly brought to life and the story of love lost and found is universal in its appeal. The simple, poignant story progresses in short chapters, some not more than a page long, a trait characteristic of Patterson novels. Through letters, Sam opens a window into her past to Jennifer and reveals that the only predictable thing about life is that itís never predictable - and that one should never truly give up hope. How Jennifer absorbs, makes sense of and applies it toward her own life, conflicted as it is with guilt from her past, is inspiring and evocative. Also beautifully captured is the enduring bond between grandmother and granddaughter, which supercedes even the growing relationship between Jennifer and Brendan. James Pattersonís crisp and concise style of writing brings out the great emotionality of the story with the least fuss and effectively leaves the stirring story itself to evoke sentimentality. While the ending is a bit too buoyant for belief, otherwise this tearjerker story is an overall success.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Rashmi Srinivas, 2004

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