Andy's Reviews > The Mailbox

The Mailbox by Audrey Shafer
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Jan 13, 11

bookshelves: 1-star
Read in December, 2010

In a rural part of southwest Virginia, sixth grader Gabe finds his Uncle Vernon dead. Gabe tells no one (out of fear of being sent back into the foster care system), but when he returns from school the following day his uncle’s body has vanished. Where did it go? The only clue Gabe finds is a letter in his mailbox that says “I have a secret. Do not be afraid.” The Mailbox is one of those books that starts on a superbly strong and captivating note, but then proceeds to loose momentum and eventually becomes really weird and wonky. Gabe begins a correspondence with the mysterious letter writer, who leaves him a dog. He also continues going to school, where he develops a relationship with a nurturing teacher and struggles to hide his secret. In flashbacks we learn about Gabe’s relationship to his uncle and of Uncle Vernon’s combat experience in Vietnam. There are lots of unbelievable plot details, and while no story needs to be tied up neatly, this one ends completely unraveled. An odd meditation on trauma, loneliness, and friendship.
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