I have never written to an author before. Nor have I written any kind of “dear John” letter, for that matter. My name is, however, Abigail Adams, so it seems only fitting that I write my first actual fan mail to someone named John, now that I think about it. I want to let you know that your writing has officially done what I never thought possible. That’s right. Your book An Abundance of Katherines made my mother pull an all-nighter.
I should probably explain. For starters, I’m a total nerd. I mean, typically I’m socially well adjusted and everything, but I love books of all kinds, and I’ve officially been a high school French teacher for 5 years now. It doesn’t get that much nerdier, right? Anyhow, I always try to beef up my reading list over summer vacation. Since I’m a long-time Vlogbrothers fan, your work was at the top of my list! I even brought two of your books back home to Ithaca, New York with me when I went to visit my parents last weekend. Then, after I sobbed my way through The Fault in Our Stars and stayed up all night reading Looking For Alaska, I went to the library and was the lucky patron to get the last copy of An Abundance of Katherines.
At this point, I have to digress just a little, because it turned out to be a signed copy. Now, I know, it’s your signature, so that’s probably not a big deal to you, but I actually contemplated stealing from a public library, so I guess that makes me a big fan of your work. (I didn’t steal it, just in case you are worried. Ithaca, New York can still publically access your work!)
I had to go back to Boston before I had a chance to finish the book, sadly leaving the book behind for my Mom to return. Which brings us to the Big Deal Moment. This morning my phone rang at 8am, and it was my Mom. She was calling to tell me that she stayed up all night reading your book. My mom is pretty picky about books. She loves literature of all kinds, but she’s pretty old school, and she sometimes gives up on reading books that use “crass language” or discuss anything “racy”. (To this day, if I say something like “damn” or “screwed” in her presence, she furrows her eyebrows at me and says: “Abigail Adams, you are a maiden!”) So, I wasn’t sure what she would think about your work. (Not that you’re in the business of writing dirty books or anything. But, you know, teenaged protagonists swear and occasionally talk about premarital sex and such . . .) And what did my Mother say?
“Abby, It’s like nothing else I’ve ever read!”
She raved about it, saying that she was completely absorbed in the story, that sometimes there would be a line so perfect, or so witty, or so thought provoking, that she had to share it with my Dad. He didn’t appreciate the all-nighter phenomenon quite as much, which is why she had to call me as early as she dared in order to fully give in to waxing complimentary about the book. Suffice it to say, you officially received The Lynn Adams Stamp of Approval, which is a big deal. A few of my siblings are still holding out for that one.
It bears mentioning that, despite her lack of appreciation for even the most well-placed expletives, my mother is one of the finest women breathing. Aside from birthing five gigantor babies (who she continues to care about well beyond a time when she could’ve stopped), she is also an incredible teacher, a shockingly talented perennial gardener, and a somewhat-closeted poet. Plus, growing up, she read aloud to the five of us kids all the time, and probably deserves some kind of a medal, not only for creating lovers of the written word, but also for sobbing her way to the end of Where the Red Fern Grows so that we could know the tragic fates of Old Dan and Little Anne. Essentially, she’s like the Mother Theresa of mothers (not the nun kind). Thus, getting her sincere appreciation is a pretty significant achievement, and I just thought you should know.
Also, if it matters, I really appreciated your books as well. Your work is beautifully insightful and truly a gift to the reader.
p.s. I know you don’t respond to snail mail, even from your Mom, but regardless, I hope you read it and that your publisher isn’t just laughing maniacally as this goes through the shredder and Bad to the Bone plays loudly in the background.
p.p.s. I am going to post this on the Internet, too, just in case your publisher really is a fan of George Thorogood and the Destroyers.