What happens when the person who finds your balloon bursts your bubble? Dear Emmie Blue is a delightful story about a sweet, downtrodden woman’s journey to self-discovery after she believes she has lost everything.
Fourteen years ago, when Emmie Blue was 16, she released a balloon into the sky over Kent, England, with her email address and a message attached to it—a dark secret she could no longer keep. The balloon was discovered in France by Lucas Moreau, a boy originally from London who has the same birthday as Emmie, who quickly became her best friend and with whom she has been in love for the last six years.
Lucas has told Emmie that he plans to ask her a question on the eve of their 30th birthdays. Emmie has rehearsed her answer to what she assumes will be a romantic invitation—but what he asks her makes her question everything about her life.
Emmie is a tremendously flawed character who might be self-pitying if she weren’t so darn self-effacing and nice. It’s hard not to sympathize with her, cheering her along as she muddles her way—repeatedly—through one disappointment after another. Her back story is woven into her dynamic stream-of-consciousness narration, which causes some confusing moments but also sets a pace that reflects her psychological and emotional state. She’s dealing with a lot—the truth of Lucas and his brother, Elliot; her neglectful mother; the search for her father—while struggling to make peace with her dreadful secret.
The comedic value of secondary characters, such as Emmie’s friends Rose and Fox, balances the weight of heavier themes to keep the story from getting too bogged down in drama. The dialogue, which is amply seasoned with profanity, effectively captures Emmie’s close relationships with other characters, especially with her quiet and wise landlady.
Ebbing and flowing with the ups and downs of life, Dear Emmie Blue is a delightful read that fans of Bridget Jones’s Diary and Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine will enjoy.