|About the Book|
Dear JenniferImagine finding a shoe box filled with letters in an attic dresser. By piecing together information in letters written to Jennifer Maxwell over the years from relatives, teachers, friends, and lovers, the reader comes to know her.Jennifers family is New England blue blood. Her father is distant and preoccupied. Her mother is domineering and controlling of Jennifer and her sister, Gail.Her friendship with Michael began the first time he wrote Jennifer a note in the first grade.Michael and Jennifer remain close through high school even after he tells her he is gay and having an affair with a choreographer in New York City. His father, finding the boys letters, beats him and Michael, at sixteen, leaves for California to become a dancer.Michael and Jennifer continue to write to each other- he regales her with his fledgling dance career and many lovers and she writes of her studies and the sexual feelings she is having toward a female graduate assistant, Fran.In California, Michael suffers a career ending knee injury forcing him to start over, this time in Chicago with a much older lover who supports him financially. Disillusioned and disappointed in her family, Jennifer leaves school before completing her graduate studies and relocates to California. Michael and she continue to write.Finally, Jennifer meets someone who adores her, Claire. Though their lives are closeted from most of the world, Claires family is as supportive as Jennifers is unknowing. Jennifer gets a promotion and returns to Pittsburgh with Claire. A letter, postmarked Atlanta, arrives from Michael that would change all of their lives. Michael has AIDS, a relatively new problem in the early eighties. He is alone now without any means of support. Jennifer offers to marry Michael. With her health insurance in effect he would be covered, but more than that, he would stay with her until he died.The next few months Michael and Jennifers feelings, and the sacrifices they make are a test and a revelation of the true meaning of friendship. In spite of every effort, her mother finds out about the sham of a marriage and what she considers the unacceptable lifestyle of her daughter. Father, mother, sister, and lover each try in their own way to understand, but only Jennifer and Michael know the special love they share.