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Other People's Rejection Letters: Relationship Enders, Career Killers, and 150 Other Letters You'll Be Glad You Didn't Receive Hardcover – May 11, 2010
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"’A rejection letter can sway or scar a life,’ writes editor Bill Shapiro, ‘causing one person to give up his dreams, another to work harder.’ They’re no fun either way, but after reading the examples in his new book, at least you’ll know you’re not alone." - People
"A lusciously laid out compendium of snobbery as delicious as it is heartbreaking" – New York Observer’s Very Short List
"A collection of more than 150 notes, letters, and telegrams that will make you feel good about yourself." – Esquire.com
"Bill Shapiro shares 150 nay-saying (and jaw-dropping) messages that’ll take the sting out of your own recent burns, spurns, and turndowns" – More Magazine
"The native Angeleno and editor of Life.com must have rifled through lots of desk drawers (and government files) to come up with these: nasty emails, angry texts, and dismissals of both the famous (like Andy Warhol and Jimi Hendrix) and non-famous alike – and they’re funny because they’re not ours." – LAmag.com
"A new anthology of career failure, romantic relationship disasters, cute letdowns, and outrageously nasty trash talk" – Boston Herald
“A great gift for anyone who has ever heard a resounding no.” -- AllYou.com
About the Author
BILL SHAPIRO is the editor in chief of LIFE.com and the former editor of LIFE magazine. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Top customer reviews
The ones that work the best are the famous rejections - Jimi Hendrix getting booted from the military, a young Andy Warhol getting the brush-off, The Black Sox participants getting blackballed from the game, and Jackie Robinson's stirring, courageous rebuke of President Eisenhower. The more personal notes - usually professional rejection or the termination of a relationship - are worthy of a short chuckle but quickly forgotten. Too bad those comprise about 80% of the book.
I read this book a short while after reading "Other People's Love Letters" by the same editor -- I'm giving this volume one less star than I gave that one because the letters in the other ("Love Letter") volume were more original, and the end notes about a few select entries added some poignancy, and I can say neither of those things about this book.
Many of the rejection letters published here were addressed to the same people (who I think have already reprinted them in books of their own?), and many more were boilerplate form letters pertaining to foreclosure / eviction / immigration status / declined applications for credit cards, etc. Sometimes I felt as if I were reading someone else's junk mail.
Although this book can be read in a few hours, some of the letters were just too long -- or maybe they just seemed so because they were so uninteresting. One long letter was made more interesting by a note at the back of the book indicating it was written by F. Scott Fitzgerald to his daughter: you couldn't determine that just by reading it (no letterhead and signed "daddy"), but, again, another example of a letter published elsewhere. However, most of the letters lacked any context or sense of irony because they were from / to anonymous people.
Maybe not so surprisingly, the survival of many of these letters seems to say much more about the people who kept them than it does about the people who wrote them. Actually, the most interesting part of the whole book was the editor's introductory explanation of why this subject attracted him and what he learned from it (about himself).