I'm a fan of Mary-Louise Parker and when I saw that she had a memoir available on NetGalley, I immediately requested it. Thank you to Scribner for providing me with an advanced copy of Parker's memoir, in exchange for an honest review.
PLOT- Parker's Dear Mr. You is not a conventional memoir. This is not an insiders look at Parker's Hollywood life, in fact, very little of it is mentioned. You could read this entire memoir and have no idea that she is a famous actress, that's how little of it is mentioned. But really, what makes this memoir unconventional, is her device of writing letters to the men in her life to frame the chapters. The men are not even necessarily people she knew well, but those who in some way, maybe without even realizing, have made an impact on her life.
LIKE- Wow. I was blown away, dazzled, and deeply affected by Parker's beautiful memoir. This is truly powerful writing that will run you through a gamut of emotions. Don't say that I didn't warn you!
There is so much to love in Dear Mr. You, but a few moments really shone above the others. One is where Parker mentions the birth of her son and waking up in the hospital to see her brother holding her newborn and singing to him. Parker's boyfriend left her when she was seven months pregnant ( no, she doesn't name drop or belabor the fact), but it sets up the point that she felt overwhelmed seeing her brother step-up when she needed him the most. She lists this as one of the top moments that she would love to relive.
Another emotional memory is recalled, when she writes to the uncle of her adopted daughter, a man whom she met once and had to speak through a translator, a moment where she used those precious minutes to try to figure out what this man hoped most for his niece, whom he was sending off with a stranger, an unmarried foreign woman. This moment is remembered with such gratitude and compassion. It made me think about and feel grateful for good things in my own life.
The most affecting letter, is the one that Parker writes to an unnamed oyster picker, writing in gratitude for the comfort that the oysters brought to her dying father. Have the kleenex nearby for this one.
DISLIKE- Not a single word.
RECOMMEND- Must read. Put Dear Mr. You on the top of your TBR pile. As much as I'm a fan of Parker's acting, I'm a much bigger fan of her writing. This memoir is a marvel.