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Dear Me: A Letter to My Sixteen-Year-Old Self Hardcover – October 25, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books (October 25, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451649649
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451649642
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.8 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #123,019 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Joseph Galliano is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in the Times (London) and the Guardian (UK) as well as various magazines internationally. He lives in London. Stalkers, Future Selves, and other interested persons are invited to visit him at josephgalliano.co.uk.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

INTRODUCTION

At age sixteen, I did a lot of staring out of windows—filled with terror, worrying about who I was or what I was going to be. Was I good, clever, hip, decent, fun enough? Was the world going to end? (This was the 1980s, after all, and the cold war was no joke.) Was I going to make it? I wore a troubled brow.

As we get older, some of our teenage intensity will ease, but when in the maelstrom, we don’t know that. When we are young, we so rarely take the advice of grown-ups, but would you have taken advice from someone like you? From your older self perhaps?

My family have always been letter writers, and pens have always been precious to me. My mother’s beautiful italicized script flowing from the left-handed gold nib of her Parker pen always struck me as the height of adult elegance. When, as a child, I would go away from home for any period, there would always be a long and comforting letter from her in my bag. And, of course, writing thank-you letters was as much a part of the holiday season as tinsel.

A few years ago my partner showed me a heartbreaking letter that he had received from a troubled classmate while he was still at school. It made me want to send a hug back in time to say, “You’re okay, you’re just fine.”

But in reality, of course, that’s impossible. (Time-travel mailbox in development anyone?) Instead, the “Dear Me” letter was born. Writing my own letter to myself and hearing what this experience has meant to this book’s generous contributors has proven to me that composing a letter to your younger self is a cathartic process. The act of addressing yourself with kindness and adult understanding can give you a better sense of who you are now—for indeed, in many ways our childhood self is our parent. As Bob Dylan sang, “I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.”

Reading this collection is to be rewarded with an intimate glimpse into the backgrounds and emotional makeup of a wonderfully varied group of fascinating people, without the filter of the usual interview process.

I hope that you will smile, laugh, shed a tear, and take some comfort from these time-traveling missives and remember once again what it was like to be sixteen.

Joseph Galliano
London
June 19, 2011


© 2011 Joseph Galliano

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Customer Reviews

If you do buy this book, get it as cheap as possible.
Rev. DaisyMay Rader
The "Dear Me" letters are rendered as graphic images with text too small for me to read even when magnified and my glasses on.
Brian Castelli
I was very excited about this book, and it's probably excellent, but I'll never know.
Jcmohawk

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Feyisola Osiozamewun Tinubu on November 28, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book at the Waterstone book store in London - it caught my eye at the checkout.
For anyone who has ever been young and uncertain; anyone who has been young and convinced of the certainty of their feelings and actions, this book is for you. It reminds you of hopes and dreams long forgotten, of desires long past and of all that one has achieved (or not) in one's life. Makes you think of your youth with a mixture of nostalgia for things gone, regret for paths not followed, longing for the things that could have been and joy for getting through it all and being in the here and now.

A must read.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Margaret Zambito on October 30, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I love the book and found the letters I could read very moving. However, some of the pages were set with the entire letter in view and even though I enlarged the typeface and tried zooming, the print was too tiny to read. I do plan to buy the hardcopy so I can enjoy the entire book. Perhaps my Kindle is capable of enlarging somehow and I just don't know how to do it ??
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By J. Levy on December 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I agree with other reviewers who have said the same thing. On my Kindle it's impossible to read some of the letters as they are rendered as single pages which, even when zoomed, can't be read. The book itself is good but not the Kindle version. I think it's about time for Amazon to start offering updated versions of books that have problems like this one or the myriad typos or spacing or punctuation problems, to their customers for free. That is to say, if I already have purchased a Kindle version book from Amazon and it's full of problems, they should correct those problems and let us re-download the book. How about it, Amazon?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By writerwannabe on January 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This book was interesting. Different celebs and business people and people who have been very sucessful in life write letters to their 16-year-old selves. Each letter writer offered something different, some were humorous, some sad, some enlightening. One thing, you learned a lot about the current person writing the letter just from what they wrote to their younger selves and you learn a lot about their lives in general.

The letters are in the book as they were given to the editor, so some people handwrote their letters, some typed it out, some were professional typed like a business letter some hastily typed out, most informal.

An overall enjoyable book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I've been a fan of Dear Me since I first heard of Joe Galliano's collection of celebrities' letters to their 16 year old selves.
With earnestness, courage and - quite often - humour, some of the biggest names in 21st century culture pen some of the most heart-felt and personal prose you're likely to find anywhere.
In terms of good reading, entertainment and a unique lens into the lives of some of the most public people in the world, there is simply nothing like it.
Everyone I know, from all the faiths I know of, are getting Dear Me for their holiday gift.
I've also become slightly addicted to writing my own letter to my 16 year old self on Dearme.org
Happy Reading
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By James Doherty on November 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Two stars because ...

1. Some of the content is not what you may want to have your sixteen year old read. I'm not certain sixteen yearolds are the target audience however.

2. Mostly celebrity letter writers. They do not have much helpful to say - repeating the trite 'it will get better' and 'believe in yourself' is not practical advice or example for coping with life's problems.

More than one star because maybe, just maybe, some of it would resonate.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Isis Nocturne on February 22, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I became interested in Dear Me: A Letter to My 16 Year-Old Self when I discovered that many celebrities I look up to and admire had written letters to their younger selves, and all were compiled into this book. Then, as a surprise birthday present from my sister, I received a copy. I immediately started the book, and it was so much more than I imagined.

The letters vary on topic, style, and intent. Some are hilarious while others have a much more somber tone. My favorites can be found somewhere in the middle of the tones, and have a touch of humor to go along with a serious message. Either way, though, I found myself emotionally involved in each letter and the message it sent.

My top 3 letters were from Hugh Jackman, Alan Rickman, and James Marsters. Each had a message that I responded to. With Hugh's letter, I gained more of an understanding about where he comes from. Alan's (very) short letter had me in tears from laughing. The first half of James' letter had me giggling while the second half was a touch more somber and had me connecting even further with his portrayal of Spike on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and his need to be loved.

I loved this book, and give it 5 stars. I cannot recommend it highly enough, and sincerely hope that new editions will come out with more celebrities involved.

This review is cross-posted on Goodreads.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jess Morgan on January 29, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is both fun and educational. I didn't know a lot of the people who wrote the letters but that made it even more interesting. I ended up writing a letter to my 16 year-old self!
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