Margaret Terry writes with transparency that is compelling. Her letters in “Dear Deb” are an unfolding of her life, more of an autobiography, told in short chapters and not necessarily in chronological order.
As she sets out to support an acquaintance who wants nothing material during her journey with cancer, Margaret finds the perfect support tool. She gives the gift of words, and in so doing lifted her relationship with Deb from acquaintance to loyal friend. But it does not end there. I feel convinced that new friendships continue to be formed invisibly, between Margaret and strangers, each time a new reader devours the letters in this memoir.
Margaret’s is a voice of honesty, self-examination and acceptance. Non-fiction is my favourite genre but I’ve often stopped short at the distasteful choice of words by many gifted writers. Not so in “Dear Deb”. My teenage daughter read the book too, and any book we both can enjoy deserves twice as many stars in my opinion.
Margaret is a mistress at creating imagery. Rich similes and metaphors, and word pictures that show and tell, propel the reader to sense-the resemblance between her father and her son, the pleasures of Rooney Lake, the stories read while the rain thudded on the cottage roof. As a child the dream of owning a Barbie is at hand when she finds a $5-bill. But when her father’s shoes are not at the door, and her mother struggles to feed the little girls, young Margaret makes a noble decision. Poignant and raw is a wife shifted to divorcee, a single mom giving what she best knows how to – love her boys unconditionally. Always giving…
Though she and I are different, we are similar, and I found me in the episodes as I alternated between smiling and wiping tears.
The takeaway for me, is that greater than physical needs, is the desire for someone to be emotionally available. I felt that Margaret has done this beautifully, giving not just words but a piece of herself to everyone who comes across the pages of “Dear Deb”. I also came away thinking that in giving Margaret received more than she imagined.