Sunday, March 8, 2015

Signed, Sealed, Delivered: If You Find This Letter

If You Find This Letter: One Girl's Journey to Find Purpose Through Hundreds of Letters to Strangers by Hannah Brencher
Howard Books, Expected Release Date: March 10, 2015

*ARC provided by the publisher - thank you! This in no way impacted my opinions of this book.*

In 2010, Hannah Brencher graduated from college and moved to New York City. She knew she wanted to make a difference, to make the world better, but she wasn't quite sure how to do that. She believed in God, but the belief and relationship was complicated. She was surrounded by millions of people and yet, she was lonely. But things started to change with one choice she made riding the subway and she saw a woman who looked as tired as Hannah felt. She pulled out her notebook and wrote this woman a love letter. Not a romantic love, mind you. Just a note to give her a push, making a connection to let her know someone was thinking of her and wished her well. When she looked up from writing, the woman was gone and eventually Hannah decided to leave the letter (and the doezens of others she wrote like it over the following weeks) behind, simply addressed "If you find this letter, then it's for you." From there, a movement of sorts grew along with Hannah and her faith in God and in people, eventually taking shape in her organization More Love Letters.

It's hard for me to not be personal when talking about this book. In so many ways, I can empathize with Hannah. We both graduated from college in 2010, both wanting to make the world better but not quite sure how, both afforded opportunities while at the same time being stifled by a crippled economy. Reading this book made me feel like I had immediately made a friend; there was that instant connection of "this person gets me," an "I wish we could hang out in real life" sort of feeling. Her fears, as she comes to realize as her year in New York goes on, aren't quite as singular as she thought - they're universal, especially, I believe, among Millenials.

Hannah's story is nicely paced, moving along linerally while at times providing flashbacks, filling readers in on past events to explain her opinions and point of view more completely. Some people may find her quest or voice a bit cheesy at times, but I saw it as a person fighting to stay hopeful, especially in the face of depression.

This is a book for people who keep on trying, who have maybe lost sight of the good things in the world in the face of so much bad. The world does need more love letters, and it needs books like this and people like Hannah who aren't afraid of saying "this is who I am, this is what I believe, and if we work together, maybe we can make this world a little bit better one page at a time."

Which is to say, this book was absolutely for me and I can easily see myself rereading this and recommending it to people for years to come.

Comments welcome, and, as always, happy reading!

Hannah Brencher's Website
Hannah Brencher on Twitter
More Love Letters Official Website

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