Published by Howard Books on March 10, 2015
Genres: Inspirational, Memoire
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A heartwarming memoir of love and faith from Hannah Brencher, founder of The World Needs More Love Letters, who has dedicated her life to showing total strangers that they are not alone in the world.
Fresh out of college, Hannah Brencher moved to New York, expecting her life to look like a scene from Sex and the City. Instead, she found a city full of people who knew where they were going and what they were doing and didn't have time for a girl still trying to figure it all out. Lonely and depressed, she noticed a woman who looked like she felt the same way on the subway. Hannah did something strange--she wrote the woman a letter. She folded it, scribbled If you find this letter, it's for you on the front and left it behind.
When she realized that it made her feel better, she started writing and leaving love notes all over the city--in doctor's offices, in coat pockets, in library books, in bathroom stalls. Feeling crushed within a culture that only felt like connecting on a screen, she poured her heart out to complete strangers. She found solace in the idea that her words might brighten someone's day.
Hannah's project took on a life of its own when she made an offer on her blog: She would handwrite a note and mail it to anyone who wanted one. Overnight, her inbox exploded with requests from people all over the world. Nearly 400 handwritten letters later, she started the website, The World Needs More Love Letters, which quickly grew.
There is something about receiving a handwritten note that is so powerful in today's digital era. If You Find This Letter chronicles Hannah's attempts to bring more love into the world,and shows how she rediscovered her faith through the movement she started.
Read the article posted in the Chicago Tribune on November 29, 2012.
“You can’t fake relationships. You either do them wholeheartedly or you don’t.”
I remember the day my then 18-year-old daughter Danielle said, “Mom, I finally found another writer who is comparable to John Green (her favorite author). Her name is Hannah Brencher, and she is amazing. It’s like she writes everything that is going on inside my head.”
My daughter is now 19 ½ and a freshman at the University of Georgia, and she continues to be inspired by Hannah’s words and was excited to read an ARC of Hannah’s first book, If You Find This Letter. Instead of doing an actual review, we decided to do a Q &A.
Michelle: How did you first discover Hannah Brencher?
Danielle: I stumbled upon her blog via Twitter over a year ago and fell in love with her writing. It’s not only what Hannah writes but how she writes. She writes relatable things that we’re all feeling, but she puts it into words really well.
Michelle: How is Hannah’s writing comparable to John Green?
Danielle: Well, If You Find This Letter is a quotable book, just like John Green books. Regardless of the plot, I still manage to highlight half the book.
Danielle: I would say college age or early 20s because it’s a book about Hannah’s transitional period, which is perfect for that age group.
Michelle: What was your takeaway from If You Find This Letter?
Danielle: Even though it’s a memoir, it’s not boring and how Hannah writes the story is more for the reader to take away something than for her to tell a story. I highlighted half of the book it that tells you anything.
Michelle: Is there anything that you didn’t like about the book?
Danielle: Just that it was repetitive for me. I mean, I’ve been reading her blog for so long that most of what was in the book I had already read. I would also say the ending because there really isn’t a good way to end this type of book.
Michelle: Do you write the types of love letters Hannah talks about?
Danielle: No, but basically Hannah encourages people to do something bigger than themselves and to not let the feeling of smallness keep them from making a difference.
Michelle: Would you say this is a religious book?
Danielle: It’s in the Christian section of Barnes & Noble. But Hannah definitely didn’t write it with the intention of it being a Christian book. And it’s definitely not exclusive to being a religious book.
Michelle: On scale of 1 to 5, how would you rate this book and would you recommend it?
Danielle: 4.5 Stars, and I would highly recommend it. I’m interested to see what Hannah does in her second book.
Michelle: One thing I want to note is that I had reached out to Hannah back in October, right before Danielle’s birthday. I had asked her if she would do a “shout out” to Danielle on Twitter. But instead, Hannah insisted on sending Danielle a handwritten card. 🙂
“Some people are dotted lines and other people are destinations. Some people get you somewhere and some people are just a place to be all in themselves. But you cannot force those dotted lines into destinations. It doesn’t really work that way.”