Tuesday, March 10, 2015

If You Find This Letter by Hannah Brencher

This book records Brencher's journey to find purpose for her life. She had gotten a job in New York City after college. While working with preschoolers was rewarding, she still was looking for meaning.

One day on the commuter train, she saw an old woman wearing laceless construction boots. Brencher thought to write the woman a letter, taking out her notebook. She thought back to all the letters her mother had sent her. Although the woman left the train before the letter could be delivered, something changed in Brencher. She started writing letters, picking out people randomly. She wrote with honesty, filling an entire notebook.

One day she realized she did not need to keep the letters. She could write more. She decided she would scatter these love letters all over New York City. She left them in coat pockets, on benches, propped up on bathroom sinks.

Her aim was to encourage, to carry people away from their troubles for a while. “I think it all comes back to presence,” she writes. “How nothing feels so wonderful as knowing someone, somewhere, is thinking of you.” (97) She wrote on her blog that she would be willing to write letters to those who requested one. She wrote a hundred, and a second hundred.

She got a job in her hometown and moved back. Then came an email from a Wall Street Journal reporter and the possibility of making this whole thing bigger than herself. She built the website, MoreLoveLetters.com. Others began writing letters and leaving them in places Brencher could never reach.

There are two aspects of this memoir that are so encouraging. One is that Brencher had a simple idea – write an encouraging love letter and leave it for another to find. That idea has touched thousands of lives. Maybe God has an idea for you that will touch other people too.

The second is that the idea is so simple, you can can easily get in on being a blessing to someone else. When you read the stories of letter recipients Brencher includes in her book, you'll see the impact a letter can have.

I enjoyed reading this memoir of one young woman finding what her purpose in life was, at least for this time and this place. I was encouraged by the impact one person can make on the lives of many.

You can watch a short TED talk hereYou can follow her on Instagram and Facebook.

Hannah Brencher is a writer, speaker, and founder of The World Needs More Love Letters. More than 20,000 people across six continents participate. She has been featured in many national publications and was named as one of the White House's “Women Working to Do Good.” She is a 2010 graduate of Assumption College. You can find out more at http://hannahbrencher.com/ or www.moreloveletters.com.

Howard Books, 272 pages.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.

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