Dear Mr. Henshaw

After the divorce of his parents, Leigh Botts struggles with having to adjust to life without his father, a working single mother, and a school lunch thief. He finds an outlet in writing his favorite author letters, and soon finds comfort in him and the pen pal relationship they share. His new found friendship and growing love for writing help shape Leigh’s character and slowly, but surely starts to change his life for the better.

Clearly, B. (1983). Dear Mr. Henshaw. NY: Morrow.

Evaluative Criteria: Characters and Style

  • The criteria met for contemporary realistic fiction in ‘Dear Mr. Henshaw is style and characters. The book is written in the form of first hand letters and personal diary entries by a young boy trying to cope with life’s little curve balls. Having the story written on such a personal level is an appropriate way for the readers to connect with their own feelings to better interpret Leigh’s. It’s a book of thoughts and real conversations that’s believable and not forced, and creates different moods, much like the moods of young readers. The character is honest, and his life is relatable. He’s just a normal boy trying to deal with issues at school and a divorce at home, experiences and situations that are realistic to the reader. His letters and expressive language reflect his stage of life, and the readers as well.

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