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Wednesday, March 26th, 2003


Wonder When You'll Miss Me

by Amanda Davis

The Spirit of Amanda

A review by Adrienne Miller

On Friday, March 14, Esquire lost a friend. Amanda Davis, who read fiction submissions to the magazine for a couple years in the late '90s, was killed with her parents in a plane crash. She was on her book tour, promoting her first novel, Wonder When You'll Miss Me.

Amanda was one of the most enthusiastic and spirited human beings who ever was. She was also certainly one of the best-read. Her devotion to writers and to writing was strident, furious, unyielding. Whenever she read a story she loved, she would bounce right on over to my desk (she was a bouncer, that Amanda), waving the manuscript, demanding that I read it immediately. I came to rely on her opinion more than she ever knew. Her letters of response to people who submitted short stories to the magazine were thorough and thoughtful, and became, for those who've held the job since, the standard to uphold. So many of those Amanda-letter recipients sent her notes back, thanking her for her seriousness, thanking her just for being.

That we lost her so early in her writing career is unspeakably bitter. Wonder When You'll Miss Me is a lovely, earnest, wistful novel, and it is evidence of a writer coming into her own. It's about Faith, a problem-plagued high-schooler who, quite literally, runs off to join the circus. It is a big-hearted and generous work that more than holds its own against similar novels like Katherine Dunn's Geek Love and Michelle Chalfoun's Roustabout. That's awfully good company. Amanda would have written many very good books, but she won't now, and that's almost too much to bear.

Adrienne Miller is Esquire's literary editor.

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