A Love Letter to Ann Brashares

Ann,

I have spent the better part of the past forty-eight hours swaddled in a brown blanket and the lyricism of your words. Though our love affair piqued a few years before and has since fallen to the wayside, you returned to me just recently with one last gift. I was thrilled by the prospect of renewing the intimacy with which I cradled your paper-bound prose, delighted by the idea of sharing many more hours soothed by the whisper of your black ink. I knew that to really do justice to your unexpected return, I would first have to sift through the remnants of our relationship as it had been because I have little trust in my memory to recall all the details of a world you had devotedly constructed for my pleasure (and I’m sure for the pleasure of others also, but as a jealous person, I rarely acknowledge that).

And so, I reread the books which I had associated so closely with a time passed, even remembering some passages word for word. Though your writing isn’t the most refined or the most poetic or prolific or philosophical, it does speak to the vulnerable mind of a young girl with half her heart in the hands of her two closest friends. I’m a huge sucker for that. I’m a huge sucker for nostalgia. As I read, I remembered reading your stories for the first time, gushing about all the details of romance and friendship among my own little sisterhood, then rereading the books a few more times. I remembered sitting in a movie theatre at the end of eighth grade with the female half of my middle school class, watching your story on the big screen, ogling over the pretty actresses and handsome actors that fit what I expected. I remembered excitedly squirming in yet another movie theatre seat when silly Hollywood decided to release a second movie and me and my little sisterhood tore apart the horrid interpretation of a body of work too big and too complex to fit into one two-hour sequel. I remembered finishing the last word of the last sentence of the last page of the last book, the last of four, and I remembered both expecting and understanding that no more needed to be told.

But you did tell more. At first, I was afraid to know more, afraid that you wouldn’t have taken as much care with your story or your characters as you had before. Then I read about fifty pages and wanted to murder you for ever daring to pen those fifty pages. Everything about this new gift felt wrong–the book was too big, the binding too stiff, the typeface too sterile. I felt betrayed, cheated on, like a faithful lover left behind in the murky aftermath of a careless adulteress. What you wrote in those first fifty pages nearly it all (and for the sake of those who have not yet had the chance to find out, I shall leave it at that). What the fuck were you thinking? Had you been drained of all compassion after having put away your story and your characters for so long?

I almost didn’t even want to finish; it was as if my worst fears really had manifested themselves and you were single-handedly ruining something very sacred to my childhood. Naturally, I didn’t take that well. But I can’t say I was completely without hope, because, in spite of myself, I kept reading. I mean, there were three hundred pages to go, it had to get better. Of course, it got worse first. By then, I didn’t care, I was in it for the long haul, as people say… love is blind, right? That’s another thing people say. Of course, it ended better; in fact, it ended just the way it had to end. You weren’t a dirty adulteress after all, perhaps you had just been sneaking around to put together the grandest gift a lover could give! Though at first I was startled and upset by the changes that didn’t seem true to the original, I soon saw how wrong I was. Change isn’t even the right word. Your story and your characters had grown, matured. That was the point, that was what all things do–they grow and mature. Just as our relationship has… and blossomed into something beautiful.

Thank you for writing,

Tamara

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