I’m usually not a fan of “Beach Reads;” for some reason I feel they lack a level of substance that (apparently) I require to feel fulfilled, but “13 Little Blue Envelopes” (which by the way you can still nab for free!!) was different. While normally, the non-sensical ramblings of a 17 year traipsing around Europe with nothing but her aunts bank card and an ugly purple backpack, would leave me feeling annoyed, (and if I’m being honest a little bitter,) Maureen Johnson managed to make the journey whimsical and, well… educational.
Aunt Peg is an artists, and like most artists she’s completely off her rocker. She’s unrealistic, completely unpredictable and has a tendency to run away; but when cancer finally catches up with her she decides to make amends and share her experiences with the niece she left behind. Ginny is the complete opposite of her Aunt Peg, so when she receives a letter (1 of 13) in the mail demanding she hop the next plane to London, she is a tad skeptical, but does as she is told, and continues to do what she is told for the next 11 letters; which (incidentally enough) ends of leading her on the most hectic, wonderful and emotionally draining experiences of her life. But, when letter number 13 suddenly gets swiped out from under her nose, will she have the courage to continue her journey? Will the secrets Aunt Peg wanted so desperately to share die with letter 13, or will Ginny realize she’s had the answer all along? And… more importantly, what does the key fit?
Like I said before this is a “beachy” type read. What does that mean? It means that it’s quick, cute and won’t drag you into a book 4, 6, or 14. The story was (unexpectedly) an interesting study into human nature, and the things we define our lives by. What would we see if we stop taking pictures long enough to look at what is actually in front of us, and… while the lead narration follows Ginny, (and her adventures,) the lessons come when we pay attention to what Aunt Peg is saying in her witty, free-spirited letters. The thing that caught me most off-guard however, was the enormous amount of travel knowledge introduced through-out this book. Thankfully it only adds to the depth and meaning of the particular quest Ginny is on instead of dragging it down. (Aka… Johnson was able to express the history of the location or object without going bonkers on meaningless details.) All of the characters were likeable (which is odd) and even the strangest of the bunch added perspectives only a talented author could slam out in so few words. For that reason alone I would call the read a success.
Now… while I’m certain that almost any female that picked this book up would (on some level) enjoy it, I want to specify the group I think should specifically take notice of it. Mother’s with Teenage Daughters. Why? Because I feel that if you sat down, and read this book together, it might help you bond over subjects you may have otherwise thought were moot, and who knows… it might even inspire y’all to step outside of your comfort zones and do some traveling.
Overall… cute (meaningful) FREE read, that shouldn’t take you more than a day or two to finish.
Happy Reading my fellow Kindle-ites and remember: Not knowing someone doesn’t make them a stranger, it makes them an opportunity.
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