Book Review: The Last Love Letter
Book Reviewed by Robert Fleming
Amanda Easton, the author of The Last Love Letter, has a
history of letter writing going back to her college days when
she sometimes said the wrong thing over the telephone. Often she
sat down with the man she loved, she stumbled verbally and
misspoke, not getting to the point of what she needed to say.
Originally from Chicago, she now lives with her daughter in Des
Moines, Iowa. In her debut book, she tells her bittersweet tale
of a young woman's ongoing emotional turmoil with a heartless
Romeo following a meaningless, erotic one-night stand.
In the twelve years since that hot romantic night, Amanda still has a problem of releasing an unrequited love unable to find closure or peace of mind. The value of this book comes in the process of her strict self-examination, owning her part of the mess, and not finger-pointing and blaming anybody else other than herself. She knows she was an emotional train wreck so she was ripe for affection and some good loving. If it had not been this guy who broke her heart, it would have been some other man.
Still, she has flashbacks to a calmer, joyous time and regrets. She regrets the last letter that she sent to this cold hearted lover. She regrets that she cannot retrieve it. But her lover never responded to the letter and she thinks back to a similar time when she got a letter like that. The contents of this book are in a flowing free verse, like an old-style Bronx rap done free form. Here Amanda sums up her last letter as:
A letter from someone
Who felt way too much
A person who had minimal impact on me
In the scheme of things
Amanda Easton says her former lover should have read the
letter because it took real courage to write it. She says she
wrote the letter so she could pick up her emotional pieces.
Although she has resumed her life, she still thinks of his
treachery and that memory has kept her in place. When she had
sex with him on that magical Friday night, she knew that she had
found true love and a man who would never leave her.
The first hint of trouble occurred when Amanda visited a medium on a farm in Michigan, who said her uncaring lover had a lot of girls and ’cared for you in his own way’ and she had ’settled’ because of ’a need for love.’ This truth from the medium should have killed the relationship but it didn't. She knew he was a slick man but the loving was incredible on that Friday night and she, like a drug addict, wanted to recapture that magical feeling.
Now a single mother, Amanda meets her former lover for the first time in three years, and pretends that their affair is in the past. She still can't let go. She is jealous of the females who flirt with him at the club. When she introduces to her lovely friend, Miss Stevie, he eyes her as well as another gal-pal of hers, Di Di Baby, who always had big eyes for her friend's beaus or exes. Very competitive. In fact, some of her girl friends had been with him.
Still, her lover is the perfect guy, masterful in both the worlds of the street and square life. She thinks of him as ’broken and beautiful, fucked up and familiar.’ He had never claimed her, never let the girls know he was officially off the market. She knew she gave herself to him without pride and worshipped him like a God
Finally, she comes to the truth about her love and herself. She concludes that love is not withholding but building trust and openness. In the end, her final words in the letter find her in greater self-esteem and self love, finding closure and forgiveness:
We only chase the Ones
Who run away
We only value those who don't value us
When we don't value us.
Amanda Easton knows the link of love's disappointment and heartbreak when a woman has low self-esteem and lack of female empowerment. This is what her book is about and she dares all young Black women to read it.