A collective of bibliophiles talking about books. Book Fox (vulpes libris): small bibliovorous mammal of overactive imagination and uncommonly large bookshop expenses. Habitat: anywhere the rustle of pages can be heard.
Sorry for the delay, folks. Technical difficulties!
Dear Me is a pretty fantastic idea really. After all, who wouldn’t take up the chance to write a letter to themselves when they were 16, with all the benefit of hindsight? And yes, the contributors do what most of us would do, suggest shares to buy, nights to go out, nights to stay in, things not to say or do. Although that does raise the issue of a time paradox – surely you would have already received the letter so you wouldn’t need to give that advice? Or would you need to say it anyway to complete the circle? Sorry, this is obviously something I should be discussing with Mark Gatiss, who leaves a P.S. to let his younger self know that Doctor Who is still on.
This is a really wonderful little book, although there are some that should have said “Work on your handwriting or become a doctor.” Some letters are funny (Patsy Kensit, Anne Reid). Some are succinct (Kirsty Young, to the point of blunt). Some are moving (Julie Goodyear). And some… well, some take the opportunity less to write a letter and more to write a mini autobiography. I couldn’t really see the point of telling yourself everything you’re going through. If that were me, I’d wonder when my older self was going to give me some info about the future. Jackie Collins, for example, just seems to want to revel in her fabulous success.
The only problem I had with this book was that it is occasionally wallowing and congratulatory. Stephen Fry in particular doesn’t half go on a bit. The best letters are those that are short and sweet.
This book makes a great gift. For starters at least a pound will go to charity and there’s space in the back for your own letter, complete with a frame for your embarrassing photos (if, unlike me, you didn’t spend your adolescence dodging cameras). In fact, check out My Dear Me Letter Blog and see what others would say to their younger selves.
It’s also full of advice. Roseanne Cash gives the most brilliant bit of advice that I think would be good for everyone from sixteen up – “Everything is not going to be good, but everything will be perfect.” And for gems like that, this book is worth every penny.
Simon & Schuster Ltd, 2009. ISBN-10: 1847377661. 128pp.