When an unusual love letter arrives nearly 22 years late, in the form of a book, the man who receives it discovers a memoir filled with passion, wit and sensitivity. He also discovers that the book is about him…
Outskirts Press Announces the Release of a New Memoir, A Love Letter to Jay by May Le.
May Le’s debut novel, A Love Letter to Jay: A Memoir, is a unique and compelling love story that chronicles the life of a Chinese immigrant— one of six children from Vietnam—who faces one obstacle, one tragedy after another. One Amazon reviewer describes the memoir as “an Amy Tan novel with Horatio Alger undertones. An engrossing story filled with life at its bittersweet best.”
In A Love Letter to Jay, a memoir arrives in the mail one day, and the man to whom it’s addressed tears it open and begins to read. He quickly realizes the book is about him. It is about her. It is an astounding history of things he never knew. Deeply felt letters of devotion he’d never received fill the pages of the book, containing passionate remembrances of their lovemaking, confessions of secrets never shared, and painful details about the chasm that developed between her and her mother as they clashed over archaic cultural traditions from the old country. And now, reading her words, he begins to piece together the last 22 years.
Jay devours the book, especially the details about a son he still believes is his. When he reads about how she was raped and abused by her husband, his heart breaks, and he begins to understand why he and she were always like two ships passing in a densefoggy night, experiencing only occasional trysts punctuated by long periods of silence. He had always known of her success in business and how she’d overcome so much. After all, he had been her mentor and confidant before he was her lover. He was always proud of her. And he has always been in love with her. Putting the book down on the desk, Jay covers his eyes and begins to cry for what could have been.
May Le’s story jumps off the pages with a direct, raw, insightful wit as she recounts her life beginning as a Chinese immigrant to America from Vietnam in 1985. From the death of her father and brother while her mother struggled to support the family of five, to two decades of poverty followed by a brutal rape and coerced marriage to the rapist, a series of misfortunes propels May Le to rise above her circumstances. Ultimately she becomes a successful restaurateur and philanthropist, eventually rediscovering her long lost love, the real subject of May Le’s story: A Love Letter to Jay.
I was expecting this book to be a bit different. I thought that it would be the story of Jay opening up this package and reading these letters that May had wrote him. It wasn’t really like that. This was more of a first account of May’s story as it was happening. It was missing Jay’s perspective. It is a memoir of a young woman who struggles between her Chinese heritage/culture and growing up in America.
I think that this book needed additional editing and I found it to be a bit boring. Some parts were intriguing but others just fell flat for me. It didn’t match the description like I thought it would.
I gave this book 2 crowns.