Thursday, July 14, 2011

FEATURE: Letters in Cardboard Boxes by Abby Slovin

It's time for another feature here on Gathering Leaves!  This week, I have the beautiful and talented Abby Slovin, author of Letters in Cardboard Boxes.  Abby will be here tomorrow, Friday, July 15, for an interview and lots of interesting information regarding the upcoming release of this gorgeous novel.

Letters in Cardboard Boxes
By:  Abby Slovin
Expected publication September 9, 2011
Available Format:  ebook

My Rating:  ★★★★☆

Letters in Cardboard Boxes tells the story of Parker and her eccentric grandmother, Dotty, alongside the hundreds of letters they shared as Parker was growing up. Once a means for Parker to escape the sadness and disappointments of her childhood and teenage years, they now serve as a reminder of just how little she truly knows about her beloved grandmother. 

The novel will be released weekly, chapter by chapter, beginning in September 2011 and then available as a free ebook download. Through the weekly release of each chapter, it is the author’s hope that the reader will have an opportunity to discuss the novel itself and the experience of reading a novel online, reading weekly, and reading within a larger community. In this way, Letters is meant to be both a personal as well as shared experience.

Advanced copies are available and interested readers should visit the website and contact the author for more details.

This story depressed me—but in a good way :-). It is the kind of book you want to read when you are in the mood for a great read and a few (or maybe more than a few) tears. It’s kind of like when you want to watch a good chick flick that you know will have you bawling, but then you feel completely cleansed afterward.

Letters in Cardboard Boxes really hit home for me. My grandmother suffered from Alzheimer’s disease before she passed away. Although I was just a young girl at the time, I remember watching her slip slowly away from us until all that remained was a hollow shell of the spirited, exceptional woman she once was. I totally empathized with Parker as she gradually lost such an important person in her life—someone who was even more important because she actually filled the role of her mother all those years. 

In another way, this book reminded me of my father who suddenly passed away a little over a year and a half ago. In one respect, Parker has wonderful mementos from her relationship with her grandmother through the letters they had shared. However, she quickly realizes that she has completely lost the opportunity to get to know anything more about her grandmother’s past or private life. In a sense, she feels that she never really knew her at all. What I wouldn’t give now for just one more chance to sit down and learn all I possibly could from my father.

Though the story could sometimes go at a slower pace, and maybe even off on a tangent or two occasionally, it really had me involved all the way through. I was certainly very thoughtful, contemplating the scenarios in my mind and replaying my own memories, and I always love when a book gets me thinking and makes me really feel something!

Through her beautiful prose, Slovin portrays the classic ‘seize the day’ message. Life certainly goes on, we can lose those we love in the blink of an eye, and all we can do is make every moment count.
“Parker suddenly felt the earth hold itself in place for a single moment and freeze just long enough for her to catch up. Just this once, the earth held its breath.”
I think the heavy, sometimes quiet/ponderous content of Letters in Cardboard Boxes will make a perfect chapter-by-chapter release, allowing the reader to absorb the story and discuss thoughts and feelings with others. A wonderfully creative way to get the reader more involved!

Please be sure to stop by tomorrow (July 15) to learn more about Abby and the interactive release of Letters in Cardboard Boxes.  Head over to to learn more about the novel and sign up to start reading in September!