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Dear Everybody Hardcover – September 1, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Alma Books (September 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846880556
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846880551
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,461,505 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Occasionally a novel by a new writer will cause critics to choke with excitement. This is one."  —Scotsman


"By turns hilarious and haunting—and always thrillingly deep, surprising, and pitch-perfect . . . confirms Kimball's reputation as one of our most supremely gifted and virtuosic renderers of the human predicament.  It's as moving a novel as I have read in years."  —Gary Lutz, author, Stories in the Worst Way


"I love this book, love the strangely detailed world that accumulates through letters, lists, yearbook quotes, and psychological evaluations. And I love the character of Jonathon Bender, the way he makes me so sad and also makes me laugh so hard. He will stay with me forever."  —Jessica Anya Blau, author, The Summer of Naked Swim Parties


"Thank you for this book. What Jonathon Bender writes in his unsent letters are what each of us longs to say, what all of us have been saying our whole lives, just not out loud.”  —Stephen Graham Jones, author, Demon Theory



“The page-turning urgency of a mystery and the thrilling formal inventiveness of the great epistolary novels. Jonathon Bender's magical letters to the world that never wrote to him are at once whimsical, anguished, funny, utterly engaging and, finally, unforgettable.”  —Maud Casey, author, Genealogy



"A reader can only embrace the open-armed Dear Everybody . . . In Bender’s unsent letters of apology or thanks, Michael Kimball transforms the familiar into the strange again and the simplest confessions are made moments of sublime wonder. Hold on to this book."  —Christine Schutt, author, Florida, a National Book Award finalist, and winner of the O. Henry Prize and Pushcart Prize



"Believable and tragic."  —Baltimore Magazine


"Elegantly and eloquently written."  —Star-Democrat

About the Author

Michael Kimball is the author of How Much of Us There Was and The Way the Family Got Away. He lives in Baltimore.

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 13 customer reviews
There was a way in which it was mysterious, like a puzzle.
Simone
The literary device the author uses to tell this tragic and sometimes funny tale of Jonathon's "short life," works.
William Hughes
Many of us have stories to tell, but few can tell a story in a way that stirs the soul.
Leslie F. Miller

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Becky Sharp on September 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover
A friend told me that Dear Everybody was a great read and he is absolutely right. I couldn't put the novel down and read it through in two rushed sittings. The novel is about a man, Jonathan, who is writing letters to all of his family and friends, short, funny, beautiful, and wistful letters about his childhood, being a teenager, a young man, and married. They are suicide letters but the novelist makes it so that the reader feels the whole range of emotions -- often humor balanced with tender sadness-- throughout (the character talks about thinking he was the Burger King as a kid b/c of the paper crown he got). And the novel also includes other people -- his mother writing in her diary about her difficult marriage and concerns about her son, and Jonathan's ex-wife about how much she fell in love with him but also about how she couldn't be with him -- and things like the main character's college notebooks. There's so much going on in this novel, and it's done so well that it really captures your imagination. Once you finish you just want to start reading again (I did). The review in Time Out New York says all of this better than I can! But Dear Everybody is the best book I've read in years and I'm going to get my book club to read it. I highly recommend it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Hank on September 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover
A hauntingly beautiful, funny, and ultimately sad story of this one man who struggled to keep his place in the world. This is a great book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Simone on September 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover
A totally unique story told in a totally original way! I loved piecing together Jonathan's life through the bits I was given: Lists, letters, diary entries, receipts. There was a way in which it was mysterious, like a puzzle. But, then again, it was all right there in this very honest, open way.
You'll love it!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Thomas F. Kulesa on December 18, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I almost didn't want to finish this book, because I didn't want to let happen what I knew was going to happen -- I cared that much about Jonathon. The passages are sometimes very funny and sometimes terribly sad, and sometimes both at the same time. I breezed through this novel, but the words, images, feelings and people in it have attached themselves to my brain and they walk around with me everywhere I go. The author does an incredible job, giving us just enough glimpses and fragments of Jonathon's life, asking us to stitch those together into a deeper, richer understanding of that life, than if the author laid it all out for us. Almost reminds me of a Seurat painting. I only wish Jonathon could have read this book, because then things might have turned out differently.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Timothy Gager on November 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I related to this book for many reasons. First of all, to produce a novel in the form of letters is a creative idea to begin with, but Michael Kimball pulls it off masterfully, with a hint of genius. The protagonist, Jonathon Bender, dies on page one but the travels of his life prove to be an amazing journey.

The portrayal of Bender's various struggles with his mental illness are portrayed sensitively and accurately by Kimball. You never feel pity for the character nor do you become disgusted by Bender's decompositions; you only pull for him the way one would pull for any likeable character. This is a brilliant, enjoyable, heartbreaking book and I recommended it highly.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By William Hughes on March 12, 2010
Format: Paperback
Michael Kimball's third book, "Dear Everybody," will kick you hard in the ass! It's about a disturbed weatherman, Jonathon Bender, age 32, who kills himself. I think the jolts in it come from the fact that you can't help but identify with his mental decline. Albert Camus, the author of "The Myth of Sisyphus," and one of Algeria's finest sons, said: "There is but one truly serious philosophical problem and that is suicide."

The literary device the author uses to tell this tragic and sometimes funny tale of Jonathon's "short life," works. It's a moving story told from a collection of diary entries; unsent letters; notes on conversations from family, friends and an his ex-wife, Sara; news reports; articles and even Jonathon's "Last Will and Testament." They were assembled by his younger brother, Robert, from whom he was estranged, after his death.

For review purposes, I'm going to focus on Jonathon's youngest years since they foretell his destiny. The signs were there early on that he was a troubled, highly sensitive child, who possessed a very lively imagination. He wrote notes, never dispatched, to his parents, "Santa Claus," the "Easter Bunny," and to the "Tooth Fairy," as well.

When the family went out on a day's outing to Lake Michigan, (they were living in Lansing, MI), Jonathon, then age five, said that when they got home, he pretended "to be asleep" in the car. He was hoping one of his parents would pick him up and "carry him into the house." That wish, like so many, didn't come true.

His mom, Alice, loved him the best she could, but the father, Thomas, didn't. His dad was a traveling salesman with a short temper who never really bonded with his oldest son.
Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Cynthia Taylor on February 3, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I wasn't sure how I was going to respond to the letter format, but by the end of the first page I was completely absorbed. I wanted more and more. I guess I just have to wait for the next offering by this talented author.
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