When Maggie’s mom, Iris, dies in a car crash, Maggie returns home to a withdrawn dad, an angry brother, and five sealed envelopes, each addressed to different men she’s never heard of. In an effort to run from her own grief and discover the truth about Iris Maggie embarks on a road trip, determined to hand-deliver the letters and find out what these men meant to her mother.
... a story of queerness, love and family like you’ve never seen it before ... a wholly unique exploration of identity, sexuality and the all-consuming power of love. Masad is a masterful storyteller who offers complex, dynamic characters that continue to surprise us until the very end.
... can feel thin at times, though it’s a testament to Masad’s writing that I wanted more from the world she created: more depth to Iris’s letters, which read more like camp-pen-pal correspondence than confessions from the grave; and more dimension to Maggie’s dad, Peter, who spends most of the novel out of sorts, only to drop a bombshell at the end that feels pat and underexplored ... Yet Masad is deft and incisive about the sometimes-fraught nature of mother-daughter relationships, around which loaded subtext can seem to twist and twine like Christmas lights. And she affectingly plumbs the mind-bending hugeness that is losing a parent.
Maggie is a less-than-lovable protagonist. Yet Masad’s skills as a writer keep the reader rooting for her ... The parallels and paradoxes of the lives of two women who deeply loved yet disappointed each other ring both surprising and true ... Masad has written a melancholy and memorable reminder of how little we often know about the people who raise us, not just as caretakers, but as human beings with hopes and heartaches.