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Dear James (Loyola Classics) Paperback – November 1, 2006


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Product Details

  • Series: Loyola Classics
  • Paperback: 600 pages
  • Publisher: Loyola Classics (November 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 082942430X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0829424300
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 7 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #653,634 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this memorable installment in the Staggerford saga, the Minnesota town is thrown into disarray by an eccentric elderly resident.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Hassler returns to his fictional Minnesota town of Staggerford for a quiet story that centers on the themes of loss and spiritual renewal. He populates this new novel with a number of characters who first appeared in his debut novel, Staggerford ( LJ 7/77). Agatha McGee, a Catholic school teacher, faces a number of crises in her 70th year. She must confront her own forced retirement, the realization that her long-time Irish pen pal (the James of the title, for whom she was nurturing more than Platonic feelings) is a priest, and the fact that the world still harbors a host of evils--from the Irish Troubles, to terrorism, to the petty jealousies that ruin lives in a small town. Hassler's usual facility with language is not as powerful as in earlier works, but his characters can still intrigue. This is a work that resonates best in context with the earlier works. Recommended for large fiction collections and collections of regional fiction. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 1/93.
- Martin R. Kalfatovic, Smithsonian Inst. Libs., Washington, D.C.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By wimadcap on July 11, 1998
Format: Paperback
"Dear James" is a sequel to "A Green Journey", further exploring the staunch character of Miss Agatha McGee and continuing her complicated relationship with James.
The book focuses closely on his characters and their interactions. Their detailed conversations and day to day activities show us just who they are and how they fit together as a community. This book is not a travelog; if you are looking for great adventure and beautiful descriptions of exotic lands, look elsewhere. Instead, it's a marvelous portrait of regular every day small town people, their values, their lives and their interconnections.
I have always been impressed with the depth and consistency of Hassler's characters. He treats Miss Agatha McGee and all the residents of Staggerford (and elsewhere) lovingly and yet humorously. His characters are honored even for their foibles.
He presents information about his characters as his novel goes on, painting layer upon layer of experience and character. He builds these characters carefully and logically, so that when they reach a turning point or make a decision, it always seems consistent with their makeup. Yet even when a character makes a decision that seems almost tragically wrong to me, it always seems consistent with their belief systems. This strikes me as very rare in the fiction I read.
Miss Agatha McGee in particular has become a fuller, more developed and more complicated character with each book. Her life and her decision, very different from mine, do manage to bring her happiness and peace.
Through Hassler's insightful writing, I have developed a much greater understanding of belief systems and motivations very different from my own.
It's a delightful portrayal of regular small town folks and their lifetime of interactions, carefully drawn in wonderful detail. Hassler renews my faith in people.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Ms. Honest Opinion on June 30, 2006
Format: Paperback
I have read this book four times now (there is NO other book I've read this many times). Agatha is one of my favorite characters in all of fiction and I read a lot of fiction. She's true to herself in everything she does! I really love the relationship she has with the townsfolk and most particularly with James, although this isn't the first book with Agatha (Staggerford) or with Agatha and James (Green Journey), it can stand alone. It's warm, it's touching, it's funny, it's sad, it's, quite simply, wonderful!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 31, 1999
Format: Paperback
I love Jon Hassler's novels and wish he would write many more, especially if Miss Agatha is one of the characters. I find myself thinking about her all the time, wondering how she is doing, and hate to have to remind myself that she exists only in our imaginations. She is a combination of your favorite grade-school teacher, a beloved aunt or grandmother, the elderly neighbor loved by all, with a little of Aunt Bea mixed in. Read everything Jon Hassler has written. You can't go wrong with any of his books.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 10, 1999
Format: Paperback
When you put this book down you won't be able to wait till you can pick it up again. You actually miss the characters. It's about feelings and love and everyday life and just how nice it can actually be. Hassler's characters are among the sweetest people you'll come to meet. --And Agatha talks some more about Miles Pruit!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By C. C. Black on December 17, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is my misfortune to discover many of our finest contemporary writers some 15-20 years after they've begun publishing. Better late than never in such cases as Jon Hassler, who travels in much the league and genre of J. F. Powers and Garrison Keillor. Hassler's voice and craft, however, are all his own, and they are a delight. "Dear James" is my introduction to his oeuvre; I look forward to reading much more.
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