If You Find This Letter: My Journey to Find Purpose

If You Find This Letter: My Journey to Find Purpose Through Hundreds of Letters to Strangers 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 worldFresh 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 dayHannah 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 Nearlyhandwritten 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 love into the world,and shows how she rediscovered her faith through the movement she started 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 This book THIS BOOK.Definitely my favorite book of this year, definitely one of my favorite non fiction books, and definitely one of my favorite books ever.My friend gave this book to me on my twenty first birthday, complete with notes and drawings by her on the inside I flipped throSome 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 This book THIS BOOK.Definitely my favorite book of this year, definitely one of my favorite non fiction books, and definitely one of my favorite books ever.My friend gave this book to me on my twenty first birthday, complete with notes and drawings by her on the inside I flipped through it, knew I d love it, put it on my TBR stack of books beside my bed, and slowly forgot about it Then, six months later, I finally picked it up again Eight pages in, I started crying Oh man, I thought This is gonna be good.It took me a day shy of two months to finish this thing, mostly because I would always cry while reading it If you look through my progress, that s literally all I say about it I even smudged my makeup while reading a huge chunk yesterday before church Basically, I loved it I loved Hannah s honesty, I loved the beauty of her words, and I loved how real it was I needed this book at this exact point in my life and I think all young adults who are trying to find their way in the world and figure out what they re going to do with the precious life they ve been given need it If I had a million dollars, I d get a Venti Java Chip Frappucino and sixteen cases of this book, and drink the frappucino while delivering copies to all of my friends It was seriously that good.If you re a creative person, you need this book If you re a young adult, you need this book If you ve got young adult kids, you need this book Seriously, just go out and get a copy right now Let Hannah s words inspire you to do great things and then go out and do them.Random quotes just becauseAnd I learned from her that it is one thing to be the girl on fire, but it is entirely another thing to be the girl who manages to set the world on fire with all the quiet and beautiful things she does Good byes hurt And they happen too much The only thing I know for certain about this whole good bye thing You have to say it sometimes You have to get real brave, and bite your bottom lip, and let people go sometimes Fully, fully Whether you feel ready or not, you re still going to grow up and use that word a lotthan you ever expected to There is something remarkable about just the thought of someone sitting down for you Taking out a piece of paper for you Focusing their mind on the words they write for you And through sloppy cursive and a cramped hand, they manage to tell you all the things that have ever mattered, in between the lines I care I m here I see you You rethan just words on a screen to me I learned vulnerability is a bit like those Russian nesting dolls, the ones that get smaller and smaller in size when you twist the top off and pull another one out In the end, you re left with the tiniest dull, that one nugget Nolayers to take off Nothing left but a surprise, the surprise of finding out the littlest doll is the most solid of them all It doesn t hide inside of itself I wanted to believe that there could be a bigger love, one that was so much bigger than we ever allowed it to be that could walk right up to us and say, You know what Screw your stupid limitations I am bigger than you I am stronger than you And I have known you and what you deserve since long before you ever started passing your heart out to anyone who would pay attention to you never mind if they would break you You areprecious than you will ever give yourself credit for I m mostly certain that 2010 was the peak of millennial bashing, but don t quote me on that I think we all just naturally wonder if the media is this merciless with every generation that steps up to adulthood We were the entitled ones Self absorbed Impatient Flighty At the same time, seeing my inbox clogged with the email handles of Ivy League schools, I couldn t help but think we weren t all that bad From the looks of the stories, we were trying We were young and doing the best we could with what we d been given We d been told to get an education We were told to take the loans We d graduated into a crashing economy We were raised on the rhetoric that we could go out there and get everything we wanted Except a lot of us didn t know what we wanted at all Standing in a slush pile of stories written to me by girls and guys my age, I wasn t ashamed to be a millennial I was actually quite proudSo am I, Hannah So am IGod is a lot of things to a lot of people but I don t think he is a cheap party host with limited grace to give outThe second I read this quote, I put down the book, picked up my phone, and wrote down the entire page in a note Here s the whole quoteThis was grace And I say that with hesitancy because grace has always been a tricky word for me Growing up in church, it always seemed like people had such messed up portion control when it came to grace Who gotWho got less of it To some, grace was everywhere To others, it came in spurts, like quick drips from an eye dropped I even had a friend once tell me than an elder of the church announced to her, There is less grace for you because of your sins She repeated the idea out loud, There is less grace for me, like she actually believed it Like slowly, in time, it would become a melody to her and it would trickle into the things she did and the relationships she kept, and the things she thought she was capable of God is a lot of things to a lot of people, but I don t think He is a cheap party host with limited grace to give out I think He d laugh uncontrollably with a very robust godly laughter at that one Like, Oh no, sorry, I managed to stitch legs upon the spider but I have to give you a smaller portion of grace You ve messed up too many times, and though I am like a schoolboy infatuated with your heart, I ve capped off My grace quota Be sure to apply next year I didn t think it worked that way This was grace Just closing your eyes Not heaving Not pushing Not striving to be anything else in that moment Grace is letting something else something so much bigger than you carry you home It s having and wanting nowhere else to be but in a moment that wants you and takes you just as you are Read it, guys This book is just not for me I m sure the author is a nice girl, but the purple prose was just way too distracting for me I felt like the book was way longer than it needed to be just because of the lengthydescriptions Like many others, I expected this book to featureof the letters that made her famous enough to get a memoir published in the first place, and admittedly the lack of letters was a disappointment for me The book has a great idea behind it, but the writing just didn t work This book is just not for me I m sure the author is a nice girl, but the purple prose was just way too distracting for me I felt like the book was way longer than it needed to be just because of the lengthydescriptions Like many others, I expected this book to featureof the letters that made her famous enough to get a memoir published in the first place, and admittedly the lack of letters was a disappointment for me The book has a great idea behind it, but the writing just didn t work Note I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review My mother would say be small or be beautiful Beautiful is loud footsteps and knowing the weight of those footsteps I first stumbled upon Hannah Brencher s website a few years ago I thought it was a beautiful concept, the thought of writing love letters to strangers I was so excited to be approved for the ARC from NetGalley Now memoirs are kind of hit or miss with me As fascinated as I am by the person, sometimes I can still find them a bit dry and long winded I have never read a memoir My mother would say be small or be beautiful Beautiful is loud footsteps and knowing the weight of those footsteps I first stumbled upon Hannah Brencher s website a few years ago I thought it was a beautiful concept, the thought of writing love letters to strangers I was so excited to be approved for the ARC from NetGalley Now memoirs are kind of hit or miss with me As fascinated as I am by the person, sometimes I can still find them a bit dry and long winded I have never read a memoir that made me cry I have never read a memoir that I wanted to read again the second I was finished Until this one The book starts with Hannah graduating from college She is terrified of growing up and terrified that she will never make a difference in the world She also struggles with depression, something that is hard for her to come to terms with because of her many blessings I could relate to this feeling on so many levels I know what it s like to feel like you are drowning, despite the fact that you have everything in your life going right at that very moment Hannah is young and insecure and afraid Who can t relate to that When the letter writing starts, she is simply trying to tell other people the words she cannot tell herself She wants to tell people, strangers, they are loved and they matter As she says in the book, this project didn t become a cure all for her depression She still struggled, but the letters gave her purpose She didn t just talk about the letters She also talked about her search for religion and a relationship with God She was desperate for something higher than herself to believe in I do want to say that I am atheist and I wasn t expecting this to be as religion heavy as it was Normally, I would probably skim those parts But I found every passage of her search for God so incredibly moving Even though I don t believe, I still understand why she would want to so desperately Hannah also talks about the progression of the love letter journey It goes from being random letters to strangers to a blog where she invites people to make love letter requests for themselves When she talks about all the requests people were sending in to request a love letter, I think I was as moved as Hannah was It is impossible to comprehend just how much sadness and heartbreak there is in the world I can only imagine how overwhelmed Hannah was to start these letters It is amazing that so many people were so sad and a couple of words from Hannah helped them keep going Now she has a website, The World Needs More Love Letters On this website, you can request a love letter on behalf of someone else Every month, she publishes the stories of several people that were sent in and requests everyone who can to send a love letter to Hannah At the end of the month, Hannah then takes all of those letters and sends them to the person in one package She calls it a love letter bundle The stories in this book were very emotional, but I don t want you to think that the tears I cried were sad ones Even in the sad stories, I was hopeful that all these people would know how much people were thinking of them What did make me sad was that in this digital age, people may never be able to appreciate the simple beauty of a handwritten letter The only downside to this book was that I finished it in less than twenty four hours I wanted to soak up and savor every single word that Hannah wrote I am so grateful to her for sharing this journey It also inspired me to go on her website I want to share words of kindness and strength to people who need them, even if I don t know these people and even if I never meet them If I ever got a love letter from Hannah, I think it would be my most prized possession Her writing is exquisite and lyrical and somehow she always finds the right words to make someone feel like they matter I encourage you to submit a letter to one of the individuals on the website as well I think it s just about showing up I think it s about choosing people when people are just hard to choose I think it s about saying things we know we will regret if we don t say them sooner Fighting hard for the people who make us feel like they ve swept all the oxygen out of the room I think it s about remembering to commit to the small things And remembering that love still wins No matter how much we try to say that something else mattersthan it, love still wins. I am old enough to be the author s mother and I just could not relate to her I just wanted to scream pull up your big girl panties and get on with your life Consequently, I just had no desire to finish it I received a digital copy of this title from the publisher via Netgalley.Ten Second Synopsis Girl searching for purpose and connection offers to hand write love letters to strangers and muses about life and God and general existential stuff I was really hoping that this book would be something akin to a cross between yarn bombing in letter format and the worldwide art and connection project begun by one man, known as PostSecret Unfortunately, it readlike the developmentally typical learn I received a digital copy of this title from the publisher via Netgalley.Ten Second Synopsis Girl searching for purpose and connection offers to hand write love letters to strangers and muses about life and God and general existential stuff I was really hoping that this book would be something akin to a cross between yarn bombing in letter format and the worldwide art and connection project begun by one man, known as PostSecret Unfortunately, it readlike the developmentally typical learnings of a reasonably sheltered young woman in her twenties Not what I was hoping for, by any means.The actual letter project, in which Hannah puts out the invitation for anyone who wants a handwritten love letter from her to apply via her website, really takes a back seat in this memoir to a whole bunch of other happenings in Hannah s life I suspect that the idea was to show that she herself was reaching out to strangers in this way because of her own sense of disconnection, but a lot of the stuff that she talks about seemed to me to be pretty typical of anyone between the ages of about 18 and 30 who is trying to carve out an adult identity and some existential equilibrium I really wanted to readabout the letter project, and let that speak for itself, than find out about her involvement in a volunteer service project, and a whole bunch of Faith related personal reflection.Now, don t let my negativity bring you down Obviously, others have really enjoyed and taken something from this book I would suggest reading it if it sounds interesting and make up your own mind But I suspect that not all blog projects need to be made into a book At least, not a book in a memoir format For my non existent money, I would have liked to have seen a lotfocus on the project and the benefits contained therein for not just the author, but some of the recipients of letters, and a bit less on the life reflections of someone who seems to be a reasonably typical example of this particular age group So, this is one I probably should have carefully read the blurb for At the end of last year I was really on a woman s memoir kick Lena Dunham, Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, etc So when the publisher sent me this one to review, I was pretty excited to carry that kick on in to 2015 But this book was just so obnoxious that I struggled to read the last quarter of the book Hannah seems like a truly kind girl and her memoir sort of recounts how she came to start the website loveletters.com Mo So, this is one I probably should have carefully read the blurb for At the end of last year I was really on a woman s memoir kick Lena Dunham, Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, etc So when the publisher sent me this one to review, I was pretty excited to carry that kick on in to 2015 But this book was just so obnoxious that I struggled to read the last quarter of the book Hannah seems like a truly kind girl and her memoir sort of recounts how she came to start the website loveletters.com Mostly, though, Hannah complains about struggling to find herself Her path to finding her true self is not really extraordinary It s not even really inspiring I could tell in a lot of places that she was trying very hard to sound inspirational in an effort to try to make her storyinspirational than it actually was After every chapter I found myself asking, yeah, you and every other 20 something ever Had it focusedon the blog and and lot less on her life during the blog, I think I would have enjoyed it a lotHannah s writing though is very, very repetitive and very millennial A good book with a huge caveat The marketing for If You Find This Letter is highly misleading The book purports to be about the author s quest to find her purpose in life by writing love letters to strangers, but it s first and foremost a personal memoir about the author floundering in her faith and trying to find God Only a small portion of the book is dedicated to the letters, which are arguably the most intriguing element of the novel Though the writing is sometimes juvenile, there are mo A good book with a huge caveat The marketing for If You Find This Letter is highly misleading The book purports to be about the author s quest to find her purpose in life by writing love letters to strangers, but it s first and foremost a personal memoir about the author floundering in her faith and trying to find God Only a small portion of the book is dedicated to the letters, which are arguably the most intriguing element of the novel Though the writing is sometimes juvenile, there are moments when the author s words are poignant On life Stranger or not, we all need the same kind of reminders sometimes You re worthy You re golden You ve got this.On death This summer I learned how death unbuilds a house Brick by brick Shingle by shingle Death shows up like a worker who rises to beat the sun and spends his days undoing a person you learned to love with your whole body He unchisels and unscrews until nothing is left but the skinny frame and eye sockets of someone you used to know On relationships But maybe that is why some people walk into your life to tip you over and pour you out Maybe some people storm into your life just to tell you you re not supposed to be there That you can t take them or anyone with you wherever you re going next Maybe not every person we encounter is a love story Maybe some are wake up calls.On friendship I think that might be the golden core of real friendship When you make each other better When the two of you are whole completely whole but you each make brilliant add ons to what the other brings into this life On religion I just find religion to be a sticky topic, and you often find yourself circling around people who only want to win an argument As if finding a name for what fills you at the end of day is the sort of thing you can win.It s the little hidden gems the life lessons so eloquently stated that make this book a worthwhile journey There aren t really words Maybe I ll think of some good ones, once I ve had time to process This book is powerful, in the way books should be It is deep and blue like the ocean, and there are so many good lines I could pick from it that I might as well quote the whole thing This is a human heart, wrapped in paper and dyed the deepest red There is so much beauty here it moves you beyond tears.There is something to be said for simple love The small, sometimes almost innocuous This book is a There aren t really words Maybe I ll think of some good ones, once I ve had time to process This book is powerful, in the way books should be It is deep and blue like the ocean, and there are so many good lines I could pick from it that I might as well quote the whole thing This is a human heart, wrapped in paper and dyed the deepest red There is so much beauty here it moves you beyond tears.There is something to be said for simple love The small, sometimes almost innocuous This book is all about that About the things we are sure are meaningless but really are the very things that will save the word.Hannah Brencher has written what is surely a modern classic The kind of book I ll come back to over and over and pull so much the same and new out of it Thank you, hb That s all that seems right to say Thank you


About the Author: Hannah Brencher

Is a well known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the If You Find This Letter: My Journey to Find Purpose Through Hundreds of Letters to Strangers book, this is one of the most wanted Hannah Brencher author readers around the world.


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