From the author of the #1 bestseller Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas
Have you ever gotten a letter that changed your life completely? It happened to me once. I still can feel the urgency that overtook me as I opened the envelope and the hunger I felt for whatever that letter would say. It seemed as if my entire life hung in the balance as I read.
Sam's Letters to Jennifer is a novel about that kind of drama. In it, a woman is summoned back to the town where she grew up. And in the house where she spent her most magical years she finds a series of letters addressed to her. Each of those letters is a piece of a story that will upend completely the world she thought she knew - and throw her into a love more powerful than she ever imagined could be possible. Two extraordinary love stories are entwined here, full of hope and pain and emotions that never die down.
I hope you'll enjoy this novel as much as I've enjoyed writing it. It's not often that you get a letter that changes your life. But it should happen to everyone at least once.
MY TWO-BEDROOM apartment was in a prewar building in Wrigleyville. Danny and I had loved everything about it - the city views, proximity to the real Chicago, the way we'd furnished the place. I was spending more and more time there, "holed up," my good friends said. They also said I was "married to my job," "a basket case," "a hopeless workaholic," "the new spinster," and "romantically challenged" - to name just a few of their more memorable jibes. All of them, unfortunately, were true, and I could have added some others to the list.
I was trying not to think about what had happened, but it was hard. For several months after Danny's death I kept having this terrible, obsessive thought: I can't breathe without you, Danny.
Even after a year and a half I had to force myself not to think of the accident, and everything that happened after it.
I had finally begun to date - Teddy, a tall-drink-of- water editorial writer from the Trib; sportsaholic Mike, whom I met at a Cubs game; Corey, a blind date from the tenth circle of hell. I hated dating, but I needed to move on, right? I had a lot of good friends - couples, single women, a few guys who were just buddies. Really. Honest. I was doing okay, I told everybody, which was mostly crap, and my good friends knew it.
My best friends in the world, Kylie and Danny Borislow, were there for me again and again; I loved Kylie and Danny and I owe them so much.
So, anyhow, my deadline for that day's incredible, awe-inspiring column in the Tribune was three hours away and I was in a jam. I'd already tossed three ideas into the recycle bin and was staring at a blank screen again. The really tricky thing about writing a "witty" newspaper column is that between Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde, and Dorothy Parker, everything worth saying has already been said, and said better than I could ever say it.
So I pushed myself up from the sofa, put some Ella Fitzgerald on the Bose, and dialed up the air conditioner to high cool. I took a sip of coffee from my Uncommon Ground take-out cup. Found it sooo-ooo good. There is always hope in small things.
Then I paced around the living room in my writer's outfit du jour: one of Danny's Michigan U. jogging suits and my lucky red writing socks. I was dragging on a Newport Light, the latest in a string of bad habits I'd picked up lately. Mike Royko once said that you're only as good as your last column, and that's the truth that dogs me. That and my anorexic twenty-nine-year-old editor, Debbie, a former London tabloid reporter who wears Versace everything and Prada everything else with her Morgenthal Frederics glasses.
The point is, I really care about the column. I work hard to be original, make the words sing on occasion, and get the work in on time, without fail. So I hadn't answered the phone that had been ringing on and off for hours. I had cursed at it a couple of times, though.
It's hard to be fresh three times a week, fifty weeks a year, but, of course, that's the job the Trib pays me to do. And in my case, the job is also pretty much my life.
Funny, then, how many readers write to say that my life is so glamorous, they'd like to swap places - wait, was that an idea?
The sudden crash behind my head was Sox, my year-old mostly tabby cat, knocking The Devil in the White City down from a bookshelf. That startled Euphoria, who'd been snoozing on the very typewriter F. Scott Fitzgerald supposedly wrote Tender Is the Night on. Or something like that. Maybe Zelda wrote Save Me the Last Waltz on it?
And when the phone rang again, I grabbed it. When I realized who was on the line, a shock ran through me. I called up an old picture of John Farley, a family friend from Lake Geneva in Wisconsin. The minister's voice cracked when he said hello and I had the strange sensation that he was crying. "It's Sam," he said.
Copyright © 2004 by James Patterson
Anne Heche is an actor known for her work in film and television. Her movies include SIX DAYS SEVEN NIGHTS, WAG THE DOG, DONNIE BRASCO, PSYCHO and I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER. She won an Emmy playing twins on ANOTHER WORLD, and guest-starred on ALLY McBEAL. This is her third audiobook narration, after Stephen King's THE GIRL WHO LOVED TOM GORDON and her own CALL ME CRAZY.
JANE ALEXANDER's distinguished acting career has included a Tony Award-winning performance in the Broadway production of THE GREAT WHITE HOPE, an Emmy award-winning role in the TV movie, PLAYING FOR TIME, as well as six other Tony nominations. She has earned four Oscar nominations for her work in ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN, KRAMER VS. KRAMER, TESTAMENT, and the film version of THE GREAT WHITE HOPE.
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