Ann Workman is smart but naïve, a misfit who's traveled from rural Kentucky to graduate school in the transformative years of the late 1960s. Then she meets Jim. She doesn't attend Stanford as planned. Many years later, Ann recalls this time of innocence—and her own obsession with Jimmy—as she faces another life crisis. Seeking escape from her problems, she tries to imagine where she might be if she had chosen differently all those years ago.
...vibrant ... Dear Ann steers clear of politics; this is not a war novel. Mason is more invested in charting Ann’s inner life as a passionate disciple of literature and how a first great love casts a shadow over the rest of her life ... a crisp collage, the whole of a life greater than the sum of its parts. Mason’s in complete command, from the alternate-reality premise right to the shocking plot twist at the end. Despite its serious themes, Dear Ann is a limpid, riveting read, set in a deceptively light register
Mason’s time-shifting narrative can be difficult to follow, but she vividly recreates those heady counterculture days as a poignant backdrop for the regrets one often faces when one follows one’s head instead of one’s heart.