Is Dear Edward a True Story

Is Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano a True Story?

Ann Napolitano’s Dear Edward is based on a true story. In 2010 Afriqiyah Airways Flight 771  crashed, resulting in the death of 103 passengers. Only Van Assouw, a nine year old Dutch boy survived. Napolitano was deeply affected by his story. That is what compelled her to create Edward’s character.

Dear Edward, similarly is about a boy who survives a plane crash. As the sole survivor, Edward has to deal with his very intense emotions of grief, resignation and fear. The novel is constructed along two major plot-lines: Edward’s life after the crash and the moments leading up to tragedy as seen through the eyes of the many passengers on the plane. 

It might be a very unpopular opinion, but despite the story being a very interesting one, the novel fails to deliver. I personally found it quite boring, to be honest. I felt like, despite all her efforts, Napolitano could not really conjure up the deep and messy feelings behind such a tragedy. This was why the book didn’t seem authentic enough to me. 

I usually enjoy reading snippets of different people’s lives, but in this case, I couldn’t really relate to the characters in the novel. The build-up to the crash seemed endless (but maybe this was kind of the point), as well as Edward’s developmental journey from a lost little boy to a young man who is ready to accept the unacceptable and do the best he can with what he has. I appreciate what Ann Napolitano was trying to do with Dear Edward: explore the effects of deep loss on a young person, but I just wasn’t able to truly feel what Edward was going through. Also, I understand that by slowing down the time leading up to the accident, she was trying to give the reader time to develop a true human connection with the passengers, but in my case, it just simply didn’t happen.

That being said, there were things in this novel I found interesting. I especially liked the parallel between Edward and his aunt, Lacey in the way that they are both grieving something they can never have. While Edward is grieving over the loss of a life he once had, Lacey is struggling to accept that the life that she envisioned for herself will never materialize. Toward the end of the novel, they both find the strength to live with the cards that were dealt to them.

Ann Napolitano’s Dear Edward will definitely not be my favorite book. As much as it wanted to, I felt like it didn’t really do justice to the true story behind it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad book, and people seem to enjoy it. It didn’t convince me though. Feel free to correct me. 🙂

My Rating

I’m sure there’s no surprise here, but my rating for this book is only two foxes out of five. 🦊🦊

It took me a month to finish it, and that is never a good sign.

Let’s Ponder

Just because it wasn’t the best novel ever written, Ann Napolitano’s Dear Edward does have some valid points that can be discussed and debated.

Why do you think the relatives of the victims felt the need to write letters to Edward?

Did you at any point throughout this novel felt like Edward might commit suicide? Why?

How does Edward’s relationship with his aunt change by the end of the book?

If you would like to read Dear Edward, you can find it on:

Amazon 🇬🇧

Amazon 🇺🇸


Also, if you would like to know more about the true story behind Dear Edward, you can watch this short video about the crash:

As always, thank you for reading!

Please, consider reading some of my other Reviews as well.

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