Dear Edward
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  • The story starts off when the Adler family arrives to Newark airport to board a flight from New Jersey to LA. It’s very mundane. But, we the readers, know that all the characters are soon heading to tragedy. Let’s talk about this opening chapter.
  • The characters we meet in this chapter are: Bruce and Jane Alder (Edward’s parents); his brother Jordan; Crispin Cox, an elderly wealthy man; Linda Stollen, a young pregnant woman; Florida, a hippie woman running away from domestic life; Benjamin Stillman, a complicated military vet; Mark Lassio, a brash businessman and Veronica, a flight attendant. What was your initial impression of all these characters?
  • The story alternates between the plane ride and the aftermath. What did you think about this writing style of the different timelines? Were you more engaged with one timeline over the other? 
  • After the crash, Edward stays with his aunt Lacey and Uncle John. But it’s a somewhat awkward and stilted dynamic. Let’s talk about their dynamic at the beginning of the novel. Do you think the constant grief and memories of loved ones is a reason why they all were so closed off to each other?
  • Edward is depressed and can’t sleep. He goes to his next door neighbor’s house where Shay, a girl his age, lives and ends up sleeping on her floor for a long time. Why do you think Edward was more comfortable with Shay than being with anyone else?
  • Let’s talk about the dynamics of Edward and Shay. How did they both find solace with each other? 
  • Of all the plane passengers, which storyline were you most engaged with? Which one the least?
  • Gary, who is Linda’s boyfriend, drives across the country to meet with Edward. He hopes that maybe Edward had seen or interacted with Linda on the flight. After that, Edward and Shay discover hundreds of letters addressed to Edward from the family and spouses of loved ones who perished on the flight. This is a really key section so let’s break it down more. First, why do you think they all felt a need to write letters to Edward? What did Edward represent them?
  • Why do you think it was important for the people to tell Edward to become what their loved ones couldn’t do (such as write a novel, move to London, become a standup comedian, etc.)? What they’re really asking for Edward is to continue their loved ones legacy—let’s talk about it. 
  • When Edward reads the letters, it’s understandably a lot but is also eventually provides a bit of closure for him. Why do you think those letters had that impact on him?
  • Toward the end of the novel, Edward runs into his therapist and he mentions he still thinks about the crash all the time. His therapist says to him: "What happened to you is baked into your bones, Edward…what you’ve been working on, since the first time I met you, is learning to live with that." Let’s discuss this. 
  • Edward and Shay eventually go back to the crash site in Colorado. We also learn of that future together. Let’s talk about the ending.

     * Some questions from Book Club Chat

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