Perhaps this epistolary approach strikes you as cloying, as it did me, initially. But as I read on, and was pulled deeper into the behind-the-tabloids reality of Parker’s existence, I grew to appreciate how the device creates an unusual intimacy. The effect is less like eavesdropping over her shoulder, and more like being right there inside her head, to the point that her almost stream-of-consciousness cadences become your own.
Writing a letter, of course, is itself a venerable art form. What could have been merely a trope or a trick becomes more than that by virtue of your sheer perspicacity, your willingness to wear your vulnerability on your sleeve, and some excellent, stylish writing. You can add to your resume, alongside outstanding actress, accomplished author.
Just one sticking point: why only men? What happened to the women in her life? Perhaps she should have explained this decision somewhere, as one can't help but wonder. Or maybe she's planning a companion volume. In any case, she's a serious writer, and I doubt this is the last we'll hear from her.
The book is written in a smart, beguiling voice that is inextricably entwined with qualities that Ms. Parker radiates as an actress. There’s as much flintiness as reckless charm. Flirtation and mischief are big parts of her arsenal. So is the honest soul-searching that gives this slight-looking book much more heft than might be expected.
What does a busy, successful actress with half an EGOT and two young children at home do for fun? Apparently she writes a book—a really good one, full of funny, poignant, sometimes surreal missives to men she has known.
Flashing backward and forward in time, and into and out of all these lives, Dear Mr. You is really about finding the beauty, the humor — and the sorrows — in our lives and the lives of others, and being glad and grateful for all of it. So here is my letter: Dear Ms. Parker, Thank you for this dazzling collection.
In a way, Parker’s writing reminds me a bit of Anne Lamott’s, even to its offbeat, unconventionally spiritual aspects. Her most affecting chapter is her last one, 'Dear Oyster Picker,' which is about her beloved father’s death. Upon finishing it, not only did I understand the meaning of the oyster shell pictured on the book’s dust cover, but I also understood exactly why Parker felt compelled to become a writer.
...imaginative and evocative ... Some of the most moving chapters relate to her beloved father, who died shortly after she procured a treat for him from 'Dear Mr. Oyster Picker.' She promised her father that she would keep writing, and we can be glad she did.