Cover image for Dear stranger, dearest friend
Dear stranger, dearest friend
Becker, Laney Katz.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : William Morrow, [2000]

Physical Description:
295 pages ; 22 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Newstead Library X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Clearfield Library X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Concord Library X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Lancaster Library X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Orchard Park Library X Adult Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



In the bestselling tradition of "Beaches comes a poignant and unforgettable novel of two very different women separated by miles and experience and the extraordinary long-distance friendship that changes and illuminates their lives.Dear Stranger, Dearest FriendLara is a smart, sophisticated New Yorker who is frightened about her future. In search of answers, comfort, and advice, she goes on-line. And that's where she, "meets" Susan, a strong and steady, no-frills Midwesterner. No two women could be less alike. Yet from the moment they connect, it is clear that they share something deep and important, something that's nestled in the warmest corner of the heart.What begins as a chance encounter on the Internet quickly blossoms into a very special relationship. As their e-mail messages fly back and forth, Susan and Lara forge a powerful bond of trust, honesty, and understanding. And soon they are sharing their lives in full -- talking of husbands and children, dreams and desires, the daily cycle of success and setback -- and together learning to laugh uproariously over the small and large absurdities of the world. When a devastating crisis arises, they are there for each other, providing the life-affirming strength and the lightness that is needed to cope with tragedy ... and to triumph.Lara and Susan originally go on-line looking for kind words and good advice. But they find in each other the greatest gift of all: a

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

E-mail may seem like a trendy fictional hook, but there's nothing facile about these tales. Becker's epistolary novel tracks the developing e-mail relationship between Midwestern Susan, who's a freelance copywriter and breast cancer survivor, and computer programmer Lara from the Northeast, who logs on to the breast cancer board in a panic after discovering a lump. Their correspondence charts a seemingly interminable number of tests and indeterminate findings, until at last Lara learns that there are signs of malignancy. She chooses to have both breasts removed, and as her and Susan's e-mails trace her recovery, they also portray their families and present a satisfying gamut of emotions. In contrast to Becker's grounded work, Reed's lofts into cyberspace, with e-messages intermixed with third-person narrative about Jenny (in real life, RL) aka Zan (in virtual reality, VR) and her passion for Reverdy (VR). Jenny finds escape from her southern suburban life with husband, Charlie, and his two spiteful children in a electronic refuge called StElene. As things heat up in their VR realm, Reed asks what is more "real" --the relentless ardor of Zan and Reverdy in StElene or the disappointment of Jenny's RL marriage? Inevitably, the two worlds, both fraught with anger, lust, and longing, collide in this techno-romantic page-turner. (Reviewed August 2000)0380978539Whitney Scott

Publisher's Weekly Review

E-mail and the Internet are phenomena not fully integrated into the characters' lives in this earnest, appealing debut novel told in the form of epistolary e-mail. After Lara Cohen, a 38-year-old freelance copywriter in Armonk, N.Y., discovers a lump in her left breast, she posts her fears on a breast cancer Web site's bulletin board. A breast cancer survivor named Susan Peterson from Canton, Ohio, responds with the right mixture of sobriety and jocularity, and an e-mail friendship is born. Over the year that the pair correspond, they confront the ravages of cancer and a good many other life events, including Susan's skirmishes with her 13-year-old daughter or Lara's with her youngest child. Some challenges are more weighty, like a shattering car accident in the Peterson clan, while both families courageously continue coping with a frightening disease. The women are candid with each other, poking fun, relaying medical data, admitting weaknesses and prejudices. Their personal minutiae gather into two distinct, believable and sympathetic livesDthanks to Becker's ability to create e-mail that defines each protagonist's personality. Becker knows that the Internet often stands in for doctors' advice, and lengthy e-mails to friends substitute for letters and diary entries. (As Lara notes, "I stopped writing in my journal around the same time I started writing to you... in many ways, all the important ways, you've become my sounding board.") The agonizing route of cancer diagnosis and treatment is so painstakingly documented that it seems the author, a survivor herself, conceived the novel, at least in part, as a primer for other women confronting the diagnosis. This useful and humane function contributes to the book's appeal as an informative, realistic tale of the evolution of a friendship. (Oct.) FYI: October is Breast Awareness Month. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

This fictionalized account of the author's experience with breast cancer is presented as a series of e-mails between two women who meet at an online cancer information area. The characters, both wives and mothers, face the difficult challenge of breast cancer. Susan, the veteran, provides comfort and information to Lara, a recently diagnosed patient. Becker successfully captures the fear and horror Lara feels upon the discovery of a lump in her breast and her subsequent efforts to find the right doctor and treatment. The author's real-life experience in this area brings an eerie reality to her information-packed story, which sometimes reads more like a medical self-help book than a novel. It even concludes with a list of resources for breast cancer information. Although the medical information sometimes seems a little heavy-handed, the characters feel real and provide insight into the lot of cancer patients and their relationships with their families. A helpful book for any woman who has ever faced this diagnosis; recommended for public libraries.DKathy Ingels Helmond, Indianapolis-Marion Cty. P.L. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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