Dear Kate

Gerard Thomas Straub, Author Prometheus Books $25.95 (479p) ISBN 978-0-87975-793-9
In 1990, at age 43, Hollywood TV producer Christopher Ryan, divorced father of 11-year-old Kate, who lives with her mother in New Jersey, decides that suicide is the answer to his questions about the world and God. But first he writes to Kate--a letter to be read on her 21st birthday--and explains the reasons for his act. After a week's worth of letter-writing, he experiences a life-saving epiphany and begins a second letter, which, we know from Kate's prologue and the volume's considerable length, will be followed by more. Yet we also know that he does die nine months after writing the first missive. Why did he change his mind? Ryan's tirades against the Catholic Church, politics and America's cultural bankruptcy are chock full of quotes from philosophers, theologians, poets and other seminal thinkers (nearly all men) who have also struggled with the ideas that trouble Ryan and who tend, gathered together, to sound alike. With little character interaction and so exhaustive a focus on angst and great thoughts, the issue of what happened to Ryan fails to hold reader interest. Straub ( Salvation for Sale ) would have been better served by keener editing. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 09/28/1992
Release date: 10/01/1992
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