Dear Fellow Hermit,
My name is Oliver, but most people who meet me end up calling me Ollie. I guess you don’t really have to though, because odds are you’ll never meet me.
I can never travel wherever you are, because a big part of what makes me a hermit is the fact that I’m deathly allergic to electricity. This is a kind of massively incapacitating, but hey – everyone has problems right?
Thomas’ novel has been on my radar for a while. This book has been flying about the bloggersphere for a while and I have been keeping an eye on it until I’ve had the money to purchase it. Yet for the publication of her second novel Nowhere Near Me NetGalley had both books up for request. I was eager to read them and was sent copies to read and review.
The premise of Because You’ll Never Meet Me is Oliver and his pen pal Moritz sending letters between each other, because they’ll never meet. Oliver has highly sensitive epilepsy, and Moritz has a pacemaker. They physically can’t meet because they could potentially kill each other. The letters follow major events in their life as they attempt to counsel each other through their lives as “hermits”.
Because each of the letters is first person, we get a really good sense of the character. Thomas has written these characters so distinctly, and the characters within their letters are also incredibly distinct. This gives the novel a really intimate feel because you are engaging with these individual characters and they’re so passionate within their letters that you feel like you are reading a letter addressed to you.
Oliver and Moritz are a really interesting pair as both have secrets and fears that they try to hide because they’re afraid of what the other thinks. Oliver has lost his best friend Liz to high school and life with electricity, and Moritz is struggling with a bully called Lenz. Much like any budding friendship, they are unaware of how he other will react to something that is written in their letters. Yet not being told things is how these two characters have lived their lives. Ollie spends much of this book prodding about a laboratory and his dad, part of which Moritz knows a little about, yet he’s also asking questions about his parents.
This book is a really interesting book about friendships and disability, as well as determination. It’s about love and family as well as feeling like you’re part of something. It’s a heartwarming and heartbreaking and such a gentle read for any person at any age.