Title: Dear Mr. Knightley
Author: Katherine Reay
Released: November 12, 2013
Favorite quote: “Never let something so unworthy define you.”
Dear Mr. Knightley was a title that I came across a few months ago but didn’t pick up until this last weekend. I had read mixed reviews on goodreads before getting the ebook, which made me even more hesitant about deciding to read it. However, since I haven’t read Daddy Longlegs, I figured that I wouldn’t have anything to compare the novel to so it’d be fine. Now to get to the actual reaction.
As dumb as this is going to sound, I didn’t think that it was going to be as religious as it was. I have no problem with religious novels, but the way it worked in Dear Mr. Knightley wasn’t my cup of tea. It felt a little forced for the protagonist, in my opinion. I know a lot of people will disagree with me on this, but it felt like it came out of nowhere, which I suppose it how finding God works for many. Again, I have no problem with reading religious novels, but this one just didn’t work for me in that aspect.
Onto a happier note! I’ll keep this quick since it’s a quick book and you should really just read it. Samantha Moore is one of the most frustrating twenty-something-year-olds I’ve ever read. However, I can completely understand how living through her experiences has led her to become a sort of recluse bibliophile. It makes sense. That was the issue that a lot of people had with the book – the main character is too naive and socially inept. But her character’s background makes sense of that. I usually hate when people write female characters who are obsessed with books and who don’t know what they’re doing in social situations, but for Dear Mr. Knightley (as with Fangirl), it works.
The idea, although not original since Jean Webster did come up with it first for Daddy Longlegs, was glorious! I loved it. The format – all letters until the last chapter – threw me off a bit, but I got over it really quickly and came to understand the importance that it played. If told in any other way, it wouldn’t have been nearly as good. (Again, I haven’t read Daddy Longlegs yet, so maybe that isn’t an original idea either.)
If you love books about books, love, family, Christianity, college, the foster care system, differing economic and social classes, and struggles, I really suggest you read this novel. It’s quick, cute, and just a great read.