Dear Ms. Church,
It is no coincidence that I am writing you a fan letter and your book, Byrd, is number two on my “52 Books in 50 Weeks” list. I like to do things in pairs. I have always loved symmetry. There are many reasons why I love your book, and it has little to do with the fact that we both live in Raleighwood (which I discovered from your book jacket). Is it for the great prose (and the prose is beautiful)? Possibly, but that is not my reason. Is it for the reasons other reviewers have written about. Of course, but that is not the kernel of it. Do you want to know why I really love it, and why I think it will be a huge success? It is because every girl has a Roland and a William and a secret.
My first Roland’s name was Ran…well, I’ll just call him Mr. X. He was dark-haired with the palest skin, skin on which I wanted to press and leave a fingerprint. When he wore his Levi’s without a shirt, I could see the veins in his chest. He mostly wore t-shirts, though. A black Led Zeppelin IV t-shirt, judging by how often it covered his translucent chest, was his favorite. And he drove a Trans-Am. And he smoke cigarettes, which, to my fourteen year old self, made him James Dean. Alas, I was “just a kid” to his seventeen year-old manliness, and I moved on. Then there was Wil…I’ll call him Mr. Y. He was beautiful and also black-haired, but his skin was tanned by the Ocean Isle summers. He wore a vintage leather jacket in winter that smelled of tobacco and pot and sweat. I met him my sophomore year of college. He didn’t think I was “just a kid” judging by, well, things I can’t mention here. Then there was Chri…we’ll call him Mr. Z. He played Grateful Dead songs on a scratched up acoustic guitar. We sang along with the radio to “If You Can’t Be With the One You Love,” sitting in the front seat of his Honda, me smoking Virginia Slim Lights, him smoking Marlboros, both of us staring out at the rough seas of Cape Cod and thinking of the people we really wanted to be with.
Then I met my William. We’ll call him Blue, because that is the color of his eyes, which are clear, like clean water, and focused. He is an artist-with-a-day-job. I love him to my marrow. He is possibly the best decision I have ever made, if, in fact, our togetherness is something less than fate.
Byrd brought to mind all of these things. Judging from the clues that your novel offers, I think I am close to Addie’s age, and I skipped from East Coast to West and back again and learned a lot about myself in between. Maybe that's why I cried when the book was over. I will always be a fan. Not in a stalkerish kind of way, but in the “buy everything you ever publish from this point forward” kind of way. Oh, what is my secret, you ask? Only Blue knows, and he keeps it close to his heart just as he does me.
P.S. I love the names of Sheila's twins...Mavis and Alice, but when I read the sentence the first time, I read it as Avis and Malice! Chalk it up to my dark mind. As my husband says, "I am bubbly on the outside, dark on the inside"!