This blog post could go on forever about this little gem of a book I found.
If You Find This Letter by Hannah Brencher
Follow me on Goodreads here to see what I’m reading!
I don’t even know where to start. I was always a fan of Hannah Brencher and More Love Letters, so when I heard about this book, I was ecstatic to pre-order and read it!
Warning: This book will make you ugly-cry and think about everything in a different perspective.
There were moments when I read parts of this book and had to put it down because it moved me so. And I normally read when I’m commuting to and from work, so I was ugly-crying on the train. Yeah, I was that girl.
I admired Brencher’s journey with God. Honestly, the reason I gave this book 4/5 stars and not 5/5 was because of this. Please don’t let that discourage you from reading it, though! I just haven’t figured out my relationship with religion just yet. And although I appreciate Brencher writing about religion in her life, it was just something I couldn’t relate to much. Yes, I do struggle with religion and faith and believing. However, I think I struggle with those things as a whole, whereas Brencher was talking about God in general. That doesn’t mean I don’t believe in God, I’m just unsure of a lot of things when it comes to religion. But I do have an open mind and I’ve always tried to understand things. But me + religion = another blog post for another day. To understand how I feel about religion, you might want to read this opinion piece I wrote a while back for the Spartan Daily.
Anyways, I feel like I’ve read this book at a great point in my life. I’m about to embark in a journey, much like Brencher did in her life. New adventures, new scenery, new tasks, new people. I want it all yet I’m so afraid, just like Brencher.
You won’t understand why I loved this book so until you read it for yourself.
Let me share a handful of my favorite quotes from this book:
-“I packed everything I needed that day – Dreams tucked beside cardigans and wishes packed up against rain boots.”
-“Can a connection to a stranger be that powerful?”
-“I thought it was hope – just hope – but then this unexpected sense of sadness swept through me as I slipped into my bed that night and tried to fall asleep. It was this empty, hollow feeling. Part of me wished I had gotten there first. Like I wished history could rewrite itself while you were sleeping at night and maybe you’d wake up to a different plotline in the morning beneath your pillow, like a dollar bill replacing a front tooth.”
-“I never meant to be the other girl. It wasn’t exactly the heroic agenda I plotted for myself.”
-“I thought, with almost every brain cell in attendance at the time, he would leave her. And so I unlocked doors for him I had sworn I would never open. And I laid down insecurities like playing cards. And I pretended like I was the only one. But no, I never planned to be the other girl.”
-“I wanted to make people proud. I didn’t want to get lost in the crowd.”
-“It wasn’t the typical New York City life, but I was willing to do anything to get myself into the city.”
-“I thought about the quirks and the habits he might know about me without ever admitting it. How they might still jingle like pocket change when we went our separate ways.”
-“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.”
-“…agape is loving a person for exactly who they are – not who we hope they’ll become with enough fixing.”
-“…to love anyone is to hope in them always.”
-“I just want to be wanted. I want to be the kind of person you’d think to miss if something happened, and life shifted, and I wasn’t there anymore.”
-“I want to be seen. i want to be known. I want to be more than just a face in the crowd.”
-“…know the truth: You’re worth it. You are absolutely, unbelievably worth it and you were made for mighty things. Keep pushing on. Keep pressing. Don’t let anyone in this wide, wide world ever try to snuff out the light you bring. You have to know that it matters. The world is going to try to convince you otherwise, but don’t listen. Please. Don’t. Listen. You are a marvel. It matters that you are here. If ever you start to forget these things, come find me.”
-“Hope can be a mighty powerful thing when you decide to tangle it in a journey. Hope can shake things up a bit. It’ll convince you that even if you don’t know what direction you’re headed in, something will meet you at the end.”
-“I stopped choosing words when I started writing the letters. The words chose me.”
-“Either these words are going to come out of me or they are going to haunt me until I let them go.”
-“…books change you. They mess up your insides. They make you drool over the prospect of being a better human and a better lover and a better friend. They pull at your stomach and leave you raw and open and naked. Books can straight up mangle you and sometimes it’s just better if you let them do their work.”
-“…sometimes distance is just fear dressed in a poorly made ghost costume when you use it as an excuse to not be with someone.”
-“…maybe a lot of us have thought we are deserving of less. That we, ourselves, could never handle someone who thought us to be lovely and original and delicate all in one breath. I wanted to believe 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 are more precious than you will ever give yourself credit for.'”
-“We wanted to be necessary somewhere. That was the common thread. Necessity. It sounds like such a simple thing and yet it sends a lot of people to crying themselves to sleep, asking God or the ceiling that holds their prayers, ‘Am I there yet? Do I matter yet? Am I wanted yet? Am I enough yet?'”
-“There was this aching thing inside of me that just wanted to be known and loved and adored and worshipped for something that came from my own two hands.”
-“When no one came forward this time to tell me, ‘no,’ or ‘stop,’ I realized I was the only one waiting to stand in my own way. I didn’t really care how many pep talks throughout a given day I would have to give myself; I wasn’t going to let the fear of failure win.”
-“It’s easier to let fear win. Even though love covers all things, fear is what keeps us silent and keeps words unsaid. Fear keeps us standing in one place. Eventually, when it wins, it means we never got the courage to say what we needed to say. But he words are needed. They won’t always fix things or mend things or make thins better. They won’t bring someone back. They won’t stop a good-bye. They won’t be perfect. But they’ll be true. And maybe that is all we have ever need from one another: true words.”
-“…sometimes our greatest points of impact will be the kind we never come to know about.”
OK so maybe that was more than just a handful of quotes.
In a lot of ways, many of these quotes are what makes me believe Brencher and I are a lot alike. I feel like something in our brains are connected. I thought the way I thought of things and my perspective on specific things were my own, and no one else had them. But then I read this book and I realized how I’m not alone. I’m not the only one who feels the way I do about life, love, people. Brencher’s writing made me feel like I wasn’t alone. MLL made me feel like I wasn’t so alone. I thank Brencher for that.
I could go on and on about how each of the above quotes made me fall in love with this book, but I won’t, unless you ask me to.
What I can say is that Brencher poured her heart into this book and you can definitely tell. I’d encourage everyone to read it. You don’t have to be a Brencher/MLL fan already to know what she’s talking about. Read it when you are feeling down or lost. Read it when you need to entertain yourself somehow. Read it to better your mind.
Let me know what you think.