What does a busy, successful actress with half an EGOT and two young children at home do for fun? Apparently she writes a book—a really good one, full of funny, poignant, sometimes surreal missives to men she has known.
The 33 misters in Dear Mr. You cut a wide swath: There are billy goats and grandfathers, handsome strangers and loinclothed hippies and hospital orderlies, unrequited crushes and unforgiven exes. Some changed the course of Parker’s life and some barely grazed her orbit, but all of them left a mark. One helps her figure out her relationship to faith as an 8-year-old (“Dear Father Bob”); another one gets stabbed in the hand with a fork for squashing her spirit and stealing her guacamole (“Dear Former Boyfriend”). Most don’t even have names; in “Dear Firefighter,” she shares a wordless moment with a first responder crossing a New York City street on 9/11, blanketed in white ash “like a weary snowman trudging home from an apocalyptic winter.” And she never actually meets “Dear Oyster Picker,” whose bivalves provide her dying father with his final meal. Though there are tales from far-flung movie sets and incidental mentions of parties and plays and awards shows, Parker’s day job is mostly a backdrop. And these men are too, in a way; in her loopy stream-of-consciousness style, it’s really as much her own story she’s telling as it is theirs. B+