Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Book Review: Dear Dotty

By Melissa Smoot

What’s a twenty-something gal to do when her parents announce a divorce after thirty years of marriage, she finds out her best friend has cozied up to her archnemesis, and she accidentally sleeps with the Wrong Guy? Turn to her great-aunt for advice, of course.

Rosie Benson has always struggled to fit in with her over-accomplished family, type-A roommate/best friend, and workaholic boss. But she’s nearly losing herself as she strives to become everyone else’s idea of perfect. When Rosie is abruptly fired from her job at a tech start-up where her boss was way too enthusiastic about synergy and company swag, the illusion that she has life figured out is shattered. Knowing she needs a push, her great-aunt Dotty—a globe-trotting, martini-swilling occasional nudist, and the only person Rosie has ever truly felt herself around—challenges her to pursue a long-buried dream, others’ expectations be damned.

But then Dotty dies.

And Rosie spirals.

As new details of Dotty’s past emerge through revelatory emails from her many friends, Rosie realizes that maybe her aunt’s life wasn’t as charmed as she thought. With her career, friendships, and family unraveling, Rosie must drown out the noise of the world telling her what she should pursue—boyfriend, babies, boss-babe role at a corporate job—and finally focus on what she actually wants. (Synopsis courtesy of Amazon.)

Dear Dotty was such a feel-good story. I found myself laughing, crying, and getting frustrated on behalf of the main character, Rosie Benson. When Rosie lost her beloved great aunt, Dotty, my heart broke for her, but then Rosie starts to learn more about the amazing life that Dotty lived. The story encompasses many obstacles that Rosie must overcome, the biggest one being losing Dotty, but also issues with family, friends, and her current job.

I loved how Westlake used emails as a form of communication between Dotty and Rosie, and that she incorporated them into the story even after Dotty was gone. The relationship between Rosie and her longtime best friend and roommate, Marcia, went through many ups and downs and portrayed a realistic friendship of two women in their mid-twenties. Rosie also finds herself being criticized by family and I was rooting for her to stand up for herself and help them to understand the tough spot she had been put in. 

I really loved this book and how emotional, yet happy it was. It was wonderful to see the transformation in Rosie from start to finish and how she realized that sometimes following your heart is more important than living the life everyone else wants for you. I was shocked to find out that Dear Dotty is Westlake’s first novel, it was so well written. I hope she keeps gifting us with her fantastic stories and I can’t wait to see what she does next.

Thanks to HarperCollins for the book in exchange for an honest review.

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