When my local paper reviewed “Dear Mr. You” by Mary-Louise Parker, the reviewer compared Parker’s writing to Anne Lamott. Since Lamott is possibly my favorite writer I thought “Dear Mr. You” would be a good place to start my Cannonball Read.
From what I understand, a friend of Parker’s submitted the book to various publishers without disclosing Parker as the author so I would assume it was published on its own merits. And it is an interesting book. Written as a series of letters to 34 men from Parker’s life, it is more stream of consciousness than straightforward memoir. It is invasive, often poetic and tender, sometimes coarse, sometimes tedious. I found some of the entries, specifically those about her father and the birth of her son, very engaging and poignant, but others are so vague and rambling I found it hard to connect or care.
It is possible to read the book without thinking about the actress. Only once or twice does she touch upon something you might know from her public life and even then it is very cryptic. Having said that, you certainly get a sense of her personality. She can be alternately dramatic, funny, vulgar, remorseful and egotistical but she is always honest. Because of that I feel uncomfortable criticizing the book. It would be like reading a diary and telling the owner it sucked. To her, it is obviously very personal. But in the end all I could think of was that reading it reminded me of a friend telling me about the dream she had the night before. It is meaningful and fascinating to her, but I only feign interest because I really just don’t care.