For readers of Unbroken and Flags of Our Fathers, The Mailbox is a sympathetic portrayal of veterans and the burdens they carry throughout their lives. Vern Culligan had been dead to the town of Draydon, Virginia, so long that when the crusty Vietnam vet finally died, only one person ticed. Twelve-year-old Gabe grew up in the foster care system until a social worker located his Uncle Vern two years before. When he comes home to discover that his uncle has died of a heart attack, he's terrifed of going back into the system--so he tells one. The next day, he discovers a strange te in his mailbox: I HAVE A SECRET. DO NOT BE AFRAID. And his uncle's body is gone. Thus begins a unique correspondence destined to save the two people that depended on Vern for everything. Through flashbacks, we learn about Gabe and Vern's relationship, and how finding each other saved them both from lives of suffering. But eventually, Vern's death will be discovered, and how will Gabe and the mystery te writer learn to move forward? The Mailbox is t a story about death--though it begins with a death. It's also t a story about Vietnam vets, although the author works with Vietnam veterans and wrote this vel, in part, to illuminate their sacrifices and suffering. The Mailbox is a story about connections--about how two people in need can save each other. Praise for The MailboxJunior Library Guild SelectionA Bank Street College Best Children's Books of the YearA Librarians' Choices Booklist Selection Shafer s narrative is heartfelt, earnest and moving. . . and conveys the power of memory to help heal wounds. Kirkus Reviews Warm and moving, it is an evocative picture of the weblike nature of human existence and the interconnectedness of seemingly disparate experiences. School Library JournalFrom the Hardcover edition.
Audrey Shafer was born Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and completed her undergraduate studies at Harvard University, graduated from Stanford University School of Medicine, and finished anesthesiology residency at University of Pennsylvania. She currently teaches at Stanford University doing her clinical work at the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System. She lives in Mountain View, CA wit her family. From the Hardcover edition.