A review of

Dear Everybody

by Michael Kimball

Central question: Are 184 suicide notes too many or too few?
Format: 288 pp., cloth; Size: 7.9" x 5.2"; Price: $19.95; Publisher: Alma Books; Editor: Alessandro Gallenzi; Print run: 3,000; Cover design: Caitlin Hinshelwood; Number of years author spent writing the novel: three; Number of times author’s first novel was rejected: 119; Number of typefaces used in novel: nine; Number of knee surgeries undergone by author while writing novel: two; Way in which author supplements his income: by editing psychology textbooks; Representative sentence: “Everything that I can remember is falling out of my head, going down my arm, and out my fingers.”

It can be a great pleasure to read a novel told in suicide notes. The letters in the case of Michael Kimball’s new novel are written by Jonathan Bender, a good-hearted weatherman with a well-documented case of Major Depressive Disorder. Bender has spent his final days on Earth writing not only to everyone he ever met—his mother, father, brother, elementary-school classmates, college girlfriends, former employers, landlords, and ex-wife—but also to Santa Claus, the Greater Lansing Herald want ads, the state of Michigan, the building where he went to high school, and “Michael J. Fox or Alex P. Keaton.” (“I mean, we were supposed to be about the same age,” he writes in that note, “so how could our lives be so different?”)

We hope you enjoy this excerpt.

To read the full piece, please purchase a copy of the magazine from The McSweeney’s Store.

—Drew Nellins

Drew Nellins lives in Austin, Texas.


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