DEAR MR. YOU by Mary-Louise Parker


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An award-winning actress’s collection of never-sent literary missives to the men who have most influenced her personal development.

In this accomplished debut, Parker, who has won Tony, Emmy, and Golden Globe awards, traces her life story through a series of essays that she addresses to the “manly creature[s]” who have made her into the woman she is. Her first letters are to male members of her immediate family, including her grandfather and father. Both anchored her to a family heritage, and both are individuals in whom she catches glimpses of herself and her children. From there, Parker radiates outward to others, such as the “Yacqui Indian Boy” and the “Risk Taker” singing star, who gave her glimpses of worlds that existed beyond the small town she knew growing up. Like the Indian Boy and the Risk Taker, her addressees are often men who educated her in ways she never expected. A college “movement teacher” who gave Parker a negative evaluation of her work and self-presentation not only taught her the wisdom of “[l]etting someone you don’t really like surprise you,” but also an important lesson in humility. Some, like the three men she collectively refers to as Cerberus, taught her to value herself through the hard lessons in mistreatment they gave her. Others, like the nameless New York City cab driver upon whom she heaped unmerited blame and abuse, become the objects of apology and of musings on who she was at particular moments in time. Still others, like “Gorgeous” and “Oyster Picker,” are creations of the author’s fertile imagination and express, on the one hand, her longings for the perfect man and reconnection with her beloved dead father on the other. Parker's missives move effortlessly among nostalgia, intensity, and playfulness, but in the end, they all work together to reveal both the small and large ways in which we impact each other.

A unique, poised, and polished first book from a respected actress.

Pub Date: Nov. 10th, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-5011-0783-2
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Scribner
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2015


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