If you wrote a letter to your sixteen-year-old self, what would you say?
In Dear Me – A Letter to My Sixteen-Year-Old Self (Hardback, 128 pages, Simon and Schuster, $20), that is the topic addressed by 75 celebrities, writers, musicians, athletes and actors. They offer words or encouragement, reassurance, warning and advice.
Initially, I was attracted to this book because of the entries by authors; I wanted to see what Stephen King would say to his younger self. I did read that, and I expected there to be so much more from this prolific author than what was there, but then, this was a letter to himself. It wasn’t for me or anyone else, though it’s published for us all to see.
Many of the letters are phoned-in and just a few lines. Often, these were presented in the original handwriting of the author, and that helped raise my interest a little, but only a little.
The response from Alan Rickman to his sixteen-year-old self was equivalent to throwing himself in the deep end and saying, “Sink or swim!”
Pauly Shore tells his sixteen-year-old self to kill himself at seventeen.
Then there were the ones that took this exercise seriously or managed to endear themselves in some way.
The Forward, written by J.K. Rowling, was exquisite.
Mark Everett (E from the musical group, Eels), was very thoughtful, and his entry was on a typewriter and likely, a first draft.
Jodi Picoult (author) really took this seriously, and I enjoyed reading hers the most. It was also the longest one in the book.
Finally, the book concludes with an invitation for you to write your own letter to your sixteen-year-old self, and even gives you lined, blank pages to do it on.
Note: Profits earned from Dear Me – A Letter to My Sixteen-Year-Old Self, go to Doctors Without Borders, a very worthwhile cause. Also note that some reviewers who bought e-book versions complained that some of the letters had type too small to read. If you want to buy this book, I recommend the physical copy for that reason.