Dear Exile: The True Story of Two Friends Seperated (for a Year) by an Ocean
By Hilary Liftin and Kate Montgomery
Weight: 8 oz
Method of Disposal: Leaving somewhere, unless you want it
Dear Exile is another book from my Waldenbook days, and thus the first year or two of my friendship with Sarah G-A, whom I still love. We both purchased Dear Exile and read it. We thought we might end up writing each other important letters one day about feminism, books, and friendship. I would have been 16, maybe 17, at the time.
The book is, amazingly, still in impeccable condition and, much to my disappointment, it has no smell. Books usually have some fragrance. They smell old or new or, in the case of a particular children’s book we carried at Barnes and Nobel before it was recalled, like gasoline. It is one of the most wonderful things about an actual book.
They sell library and book perfume now so I guess it will be alright. I can spray Dear Exile with a Demeter fragrance before passing it on. I mean, if I am feeling dedicated. This book really might be in the exact same condition it was in when I bought it. How did that happen?
Before you think it, I did read it. I thought it was enjoyable but not life-changing. It was sweet and, like I said, it inspired a brief dream about letter writing way back when. One woman is in the Peace Corps and one woman is dating and living in her first real apartment. They obviously care about each other, and they write each other letters that make up this book. I guess I am sort of ambivalent about it.
I am not, however, ambivalent about how much fun it was to get to know Sarah G-A. through books, through working together, through Riot Grrrl, and through everything else in between. I am also not ambivalent about letter writing. I love it. I love mail. I love packages, letters, postcards, address labels, and stamps. I probably send out around 5 letters every week to a variety of friends all over the map, and it makes me quite happy. Who does not enjoy receiving real mail, not junk or bills? Holding this book releases all of these thoughts in me, and that is not such a bad thing.