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Reviewed by Mamta Madhavan for Readers' Favorite
'If only I could return to the joyous days of our past. All of those memories are about to be filed in my memory bank as “obsolete.”' Everything changes in life and things never remain the same. Dear John by Linda Heavner Gerald introduces readers to an aging group of friends and, along with that group, she takes readers to an aging town, Port St. Joe, where the characters relive their days, realizing as they grow older and traverse their individual paths in life that things can never be the same. Sometimes life has a way of showing you the truth that is masked and it is heartwarming to read about the main character, Becky Connors, and her life, her letting go of the past, closing the past chapters of her life, and moving towards a new life. Growing old and dealing with the challenges that accompany aging have been dealt with in this book and readers become familiar with her close group from elementary school and at the Auburn University and how they deal with the process of aging and growing old together.
It is a book about friendship, love, sadness, aging, humor, joys, and sorrows. Becky's pain in being betrayed and abandoned by her husband is tangible and she also gives a glimpse of life in that Southern town (one of the oldest in the state of Florida) in those days. The author knits in Becky Connors growing up along with the good times shared with her group of friends and the breaking up of her marriage with John with expertise, tying them all together without sounding forced or losing the momentum of the plot. Readers will be able to connect with the character's experiences and friends, and the stories that happened during each stage of their lives are heartwarming. The author's style of writing is neat and simple and her way of expressing is detailed, honest, straightforward, and unapologetic. There is a thread of nostalgia, uniqueness, and an accompanying sense of joy that runs through the plot which makes this book endearing to readers.