When You Read This

By: Mary Adkins

Iris Massey was a young woman who died of terminal illness at the age of thirty-three. Feeling that she never achieved her dreams or made much of the life she had, she processes her grief by blogging. After she died, she left the manuscript of her blog to her former boss, Smith Simonyi asking him if he might publish it. Before he can honor Iris’s last wish, he must get the approval of Jade’s older sister who has taken Iris’s loss painfully hard. 

Told in a series of emails, blog posts, and texts, When You Read This is a story about how people find new beginnings after the loss of a loved one. 

I don’t have a lot to say about this book. It’s a quick read that doesn’t take much concentration to process. I picked this book up because it’s an epistolary novel which are usually my favorites. I love a good story written in correspondences. Unfortunately, this story had a mediocre plot with an acceptable execution. In the novel, the characters openly admit that Iris’s blog isn’t quality enough to be a stand-alone book. Because the blog posts are a key part of the story, their lack of substance degraded the reading experience considerably. The “illustrations” were also quite awful. 

What really irritated me were the typos. I understand that sometimes authors will deliberately put typos in a book for comedic effect or to better express a character’s personality. In those cases, typos are great and can be quite telling. However, in this book, the typos felt like genuine errors that the editors just missed and tried to pass off as part of the story. As a rule of thumb, if a typo serves no purpose, it shouldn’t be there. The writing is just too simple and sloppy for me. There’s not a lot of substance to this book despite the fact that it’s about grief. When You Read This isn’t a bad book, but I would recommend you spend your time elsewhere. 

Overall rating: 3

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