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Publisher's Summary

2021 NPR Best Book of the Year

Introducing an extraordinary and original writer whose first novel explores the intersections of grief and rage, personal strength and healing - and what we owe one another.

Fern seeks refuge from her mother’s pill-popping and boyfriends via Soul Train; Gwen finds salvation in the music of Prince, much to her congregation’s dismay; and Jessenia, miles ahead of her classmates at her gifted and talented high school, is a brainy and precocious enigma. None of this matter to Boss Man, the monster who abducts them and holds them captive in a dilapidated house in Queens. On the night they are finally rescued, throngs line the block gawking and claiming ignorance. Among them is lifetime resident Miss Metropolitan, advice columnist for the local weekly, but how could anyone who fancies herself a “newspaperwoman” have missed a horror story unfolding right across the street? And why is it that only two of the three girls - now women - were found? 

The mystery haunts the two remaining “victim girls” who are subjected to the further trauma of becoming symbols as they continuously adapt to their present and their unrelenting past. Like Emma Donoghue’s Room, Carolyn Ferrell’s Dear Miss Metropolitan gives voice to characters surviving unimaginable tragedy. Inspired by real events, the story is inventively revealed before, during, and after the ordeal in this singular and urgent novel. 

A Macmillan Audio production from Henry Holt and Company 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2021 Carolyn Ferrell (P)2021 Macmillan Audio

Editor's Pick

Ripped from the headlines
Inspired by the Ariel Castro kidnappings in Cleveland, Carolyn Ferrell’s stunning and sobering debut novel tells a similarly grim tale: Three teenage girls are abducted and held captive for 10 years in a dilapidated house in Queens, New York. Gwin, Fern, and Jessenia are subjected to unspeakable torture at the hands of their captor, referred to only as Boss Man. Fern and Gwin eventually escape, as does the child of Boss Man and Jessenia. The fate of Jessenia remains a mystery. Many times I gasped in horror as I listened to the pain and suffering these girls endured. What kept me going was Bahni Turpin. Her careful and tender narration had me rooted to my headphones, listening intently. The narrative is a labyrinth of shifting perspectives that reach through time, even jumping forward to 2039 as Jessenia’s daughter grapples with her unspeakable origins. It’s a heavy listen, but also an inspiring story of hope and resilience that speaks to the human will to survive. —Margaret H., Audible Editor

What listeners say about Dear Miss Metropolitan

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  • Overall
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Bahni Turpin is brilliant!

I listened to “Dear Miss Metropolitan” by Carolyn Ferrell, narrated by the fabulous Bahni Turpin. It is noted that the audio comes with a PDF of photos that I’m assuming Ferrell used in the printed version of her novel. Some of the photos are haunting in many ways, and some are “artsy”. I looked at them after I read the story, so I cannot comment on the relevance of the photos during the story.

That said, wow. This is a story that was inspired by the Cleveland kidnappings of women who were held and tortured for over 10 years without neighbors notice. It’s “the house of horrors” story that was in the news for a week? It was a story that captured our attention, and then we forgot. Ferrell explores the lasting impact on the women involved, the neighbors who turned a blind eye, and society in general.

Ferrell makes the girls sassy, which is the main personality attribute that keeps them alive. Thankfully, Ferrell has the girls narrate their time/torture in almost lyrical prose form. It’s nauseating, what occurs to the girls. Their coping mechanisms are amazing.

In this story, one of the neighbors writes for the Metropolitan newspaper. As the girls are discovered, emaciated and naked, the Metropolitan employee aka Miss Metropolitan is concerned about her lack of investigating skills. All the neighbors are shocked and appalled that this happened right under their noses. I’m not sure why Ferrell entitled her story as such, because not much of the story centers around this employee.

To survive such a horror, a person must have a healthy abundance of resilience. Ferrell provides the reader with the girl’s lives and personalities before their abduction and after their release. Plus, she showcases their friendship while being held captive. The girls bold and cheeky personalities allow the reader to keep with the story. I found a deep compassion for these girls; I grew to adore them and their responses to their predicament. I think I would have curled up and gone into shock. I certainly don’t think I could have survived what they did. Ferrell provides these girls with an almost inhuman ability to withstand horror.

I am happy that I listened to the story. I’ve read reviews where the structure of the book is difficult to read. Bahni Turpin’s performance made listening to the story an interesting experience. The cringe worthy parts are read with a lyrical style that made it easy to endure and interesting without wanting to quit listening. It’s difficult to explain, but I think Turpin made it a story that resonates without being appalled to the point of incompletion of the story. In other words, she made it endurable.

I found this to be a very interesting consideration of deep trauma and what it takes to survive it. Also, I found Ferrell’s exploration of society’s reaction to such horrors very interesting. She includes a popular TV Dr who wants to interview the girls (a Dr. Phil sort of personality) very realistically. Plus, she explores how some girls can go missing and no one really looks or is concerned. As a society, do we conveniently ignore all those missing children/people reports?

I found this very moving and to be an important exploration of how evil can occur right before our eyes.

3 people found this helpful

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Stunning, gripping, shamefully real

This story is told with such care and tenderness, yet the “horrors” that are the victim girls lives are never hidden. Somehow the author provides hope to the victim girls, hope during and hope after. All the characters, main and ancillary are so real. Every word is essential, nothing is superfluous. The author handles this delicate subject with artistry.

The narrator is fabulous. A perfect choice!

1 person found this helpful

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Remarkable

The writing is just gorgeous and funny and heartbreaking and disturbing. The performance is exceptional - not easy with this free flowing almost poetry. It is glorious.

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can I return it>

one taste was enough to bore me. It is dishointed and unappealing More like modern poetry than literature, Do not want it

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Ugh!

The narrator was fantastic!! I wouldn't have been able to read the hard copy without listening to the audio version. I tried. The writing style was disjointed and hard to follow. Wish I could get that 11 hours of my life back. No one in my book club was able to finish the book. Disappointing at best.

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Great, gone wrong

It's very likely I'm not smart enough to appreciate this book. I really marveled at the writing which was quite incredible but all in all it was very hard to follow and if there were lessons to be learned, I missed them. I don't know how to go about giving this book its due which is probably richly deserved but in the end I didn't like it.