The Letter: My Journey Through Love, Loss, and Life
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The Letter: My Journey Through Love, Loss, and Life

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3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  497 ratings  ·  82 reviews
In 2003, Pat Tillman, serving in the US Army, hastily wrote a "just in case" letter to his wife, Marie. When he returned on leave before his departure to Afghanistan, he placed the letter on top of their bedroom dresser. For months it sat there, sealed and ever-present, like a black hole through which Marie knew her stable life would be pulled if she ever had reason to ope...more
ebook, 272 pages
Published June 26th 2012 by Grand Central Publishing (first published February 1st 2012)
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Shaun
I purchased this short memoir after reading Jon Krakauer's book Where Men Win Glory, which is one telling of the Pat Tillman story.

The Letter was written by Pat's widow, Marie Tillman, and turned out to be a nice compliment to Krakauer's book as it explored the very sensational story from a completely different and very intimate angle.

I found this book to be both beautiful and compelling. I'm not sure what assistance Marie Tillman had with writing it, if any--the prose are simple and straight fo...more
Camelia Skiba
They say behind each successful man, there's a smart woman. I say behind each hero there's a Marie.

The Letter by Marie Tillman is a heartfelt insight into her life after her husband’s death as well as a journey through all stages of grief she’s experienced since then. Pat Tillman’s life had been in the spotlight very little before he died as both he and Marie have shied away from the public eye, preferring the coziness of their home, the serenity of their relationship, the comfort of their love....more
Melissa
The Letter- My Journey through Love, Loss & Life by Marie Tillman was her touching love story and the gift he husband Pat gave her. I was reading another book that happened to be in the bedroom where my husband was sleeping and I did not want to wake him so I grabbed this book out of my library bag of books and once I started reading I could not stop. I read the book the in one sitting. This book is one that left me feeling so many things. It is so personal and you see Marie in times of raw...more
Courtney
I have read Jon Krakauer's book on Pat Tillman and the book written by Pat's mother, but I always wondered how Marie (Pat's widow) was handling things after his death. She remained so private and shut away, but has now decided to share her story.

This is not a book about Pat Tillman. Yes, she shares some stories of him, but it's more about her and her relationship with him, both during their life together and after his death. And that's the way it should be. She is her own person and not defined...more
Angie


I don't want to give this a star rating because I don't feel like it's my place to quantify someone's personal journey like this. This book left me feeling different than I thought it would. Everyone gets by the best they can with what they know. I can't imagine a trial like this. I couldn't help but hope I'd find a different source of solace if it were me. There seemed to be a theme that "you are your only source of peace". I don't believe that. It didn't resonate with me. I felt deflated and...more
K2 -----
This was a quick read. You will react to depending on the expectations you bring to the book.

Marie Tillman's story is well-told and is certainly a way to gain insight into this tragic American story, of a hero, who was not only killed by 'friendly' fire but whose circumstances of death the military covered up. Reading this on the heels of seeing "The Invisible War" made me that much more upset, at how the military covers its own tracks, and betrays so many people's commitment to serving their co...more
Julia
Ironically, the letter in this case was almost a footnote. It is barely mentioned, and not reprinted in full. It was the first of many incomplete tales within the story. This was really a narrative of Marie Tillman, and although she is well educated, bright, and capable, her story is just not that interesting, and she fails to tell her husband's story in a meaningful way. Although all people grieve in their own way (and that was one point which was well-made), her description of their relationsh...more
Mashella Johnson
I was very disappointed in this book. The tragedy she experienced was heart breaking, but the manner in which she handled her grief was nothing short of selfish and anti-social. Everyone each of us meets is wounded in some way or another. Marie did not recognize for several years that she was not the only one who has experienced incredible loss. Yes, she was pushed into the spotlight much more then the average person, but she wasted many years running and hiding from it instead of embracing it (...more
Brenda
I was a Sun Devil during the same years Pat Tillman and I was moved by his choice to leave a football career behind to join the military. While I never knew him personally his death impacted me. I've since participated in 4 Pat's Runs - starting at his former high school, ASU and several in SF. It's a cause than means a lot to me.

So when I read an excerpt from this book on the Pat Tillman Facebook page I knew I had to read the whole thing. I never knew much about Pat's wife Marie other than the...more
Kristi
I can honestly say that this is the best book I've read this year. A must read for anyone who wants a reminder that life is short and what you do with your time here is important, and a decision you must make daily. It was tear-jerking in many places, but overall a story about grief and becoming the person you are meant to be.
Candy
Marie Tillman was thrust into the spotlight when her husband, Pat was killed in Afghanistan. What made Pat's death stand out among the thousands of other soldiers killed in that war is that Pat left the NFL to join the Army and he was killed by friendly fire. In her book, Marie recalls their life together, the aftermath of his death, and how she moved on.
I confess I didn't know much about Pat Tillman until I read this book other than the headlines. Marie tells his life with loving care. She show...more
Brett Hinton
The first half of the book was very compelling for me. It discussed Marie and Pat's early life and relationship and his decision to enlist. It also centered on his death in Afghanistan and Marie's initial stages of grief and trying to cope with that grief.

The last half of the book focused on her efforts to move forward in life while keeping the memory of Pat alive. I felt like it lacked some of the depth of the first half and I found that I enjoyed it less than the first half. I suppose my react...more
BA
My husband had recently read a book by Jon Krakauer called "Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman." We typically don't read the same types of books, but his description of it intrigued me. It was about a former NFL player, Pat Tillman who ended up leaving the NFL to join the army to make a difference. He ended up getting killed in Afghanistan. At first it was said that he was killed in enemy combat, but it turns out the government covered it up and he was actually killed by one of his...more
Jennifer
I probably never would have read this book (likely) if not for my book club. It was a super easy, quick read and overall I enjoyed it. It was interesting having attending ASU around the same time Pat Tillman did, and I remember watching him play football, and remember when he enlisted in the military and then was subsequently killed. His wife Marie paints a pretty good picture of who Pat really was, and why he did what he did, and he seemed like a genuinely good person. I think this book could b...more
Sandy Batesel
First off ... it's been FOREVER since I've listed my books read. Just trying to catch up my list now. We have a big upset in our family back in April when my husband had a horrible traffic accident. Just now getting back to our "regularly scheduled lives". We started a "praise page" on facebook where I update on his progress. Take a minute to have a look-see https://www.facebook.com/RodneyBatese... ~ Thanks.

For some reason I thought this book would be very similar to Mary Tillman's "Boots on the...more
Kela
Just realized I never wrote a review of this book even though I read it about a year ago. It is a very quick read. I read the book in one day because I just couldn't put it down. Marie provided a very open, almost raw, account of the days and months immediately after her husband's death. I appreciate her openness as I've heard she is a private person who prefers to stay out of the spotlight. I don't understand people who gave her negative reviews because they do not agree with the way she grieve...more
Heidi
4.5 stars A quick read which chronicles Marie Tillman's days and years after the death of her husband, Pat. I, too, read Krakauer's Where Men Win Glory and wondered what the family perspective would be. Because of the title, I'd expected "the letter" to be more of a significant player in the book; however, it ultimately becomes just the right focus. As a former Air Force officer who dealt with mortuary affairs, I saw the anguish of loved ones left behind and wondered what their lives would be li...more
Mare S
I'm already familiar of the Pat Tillman story from reading Jon Krakauer's Where Men Win Glory, but this is a very different take on things. This book is much more about the process of mourning and grieving for someone close to you. It's about learning to redefine who you are in the absence of this person in your life and the steps forward/backward that spring up at random times.

There were many times, I could relate to what Marie was writing and feeling...but mostly, I loved her line about how e...more
Candi Berry
I knew about Pat Tillman from reading Jon Krakauer's book and was interested in reading more about Pat from Marie's perspective. Her book is very inspiring, her personal growth through grief is a reminder that we're all on this human journey together.

Favorite passages:
"Grief is messy; grief is complicated; grief is in many ways unending."

"...how quickly life could bring you to your knees or make you soar, the challenges, the delight, the wonder of it all. Life would always be dynamic, unpredict...more
Meg
This is one of the best books I've ever read. I read the whole book in one night because I couldn't put it down. You will not regret reading about Pat and Marie's story.
Merceda
Good book about her loss of Pat Tillman. She didn't go into a lot of detail about the fratricide. She mostly focused on her love of Pat, their long time together, her mourning, and their friend Kevin's mourning. It was interesting to see her get back into life, and her took her several years to get there. And also how she moved around quite a bit to find a place to live and to get away from the familiar scenes of where her and Pat would have been previously. She didn't get into her new marriage...more
Shauna
It was good. Was it great? No. But anyone's personal story is interesting to me, and so I read it through. Otherwise I'm not sure I would have wanted to finish it. I found it kind of boring at times, and even though she was describing what was her own personal struggle, I found it to be more about things I wasn't expecting. I felt like the majority of the book was not about how she actually felt with the loss, but about life before the loss, and life years after. There was little (or at least it...more
Lyndsay
What a beautifully written book about such a tragic situation. Marie takes you on the journey through her life with Pat, and the life she creates after Pat. This book is well written and has a very powerful way of describing her grieving process and how she got to where she is in this life. Her message is genuine and raw with emotion. I found this book to be very inspirational and left me with a feeling of confidence to follow my heart and gut; in time you will end up right where you belong.
Cynthia
"everyone wanted to see the grieving widow, but I had taken pride in this most difficult time that I could maintain my composure and avoid a public show. My composure was also my one act of defiance. Everyone wanted me to break down , because they wanted the satisfaction of picking me back up. They wanted to feel useful. I wouldn't give them that satisfaction. Everything else was out of my control, but this I could control"
Stephanie Desimone
I felt as though I was reading my own story! Marie has an incredible talent to express her most personal feelings! She really hits a lot of the feelings that go through a widows mind, especially a military widow. I am a widow of the attack on the Pentagon on 9/11 and like Marie, I had to share and continue to share my grief with the nation. Marie did everything she could do to get through each minute, hour, day, month and year.
Sadie
I read Jon Krakauer called "Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman, so when I saw this book at the library by his widow Marie Tillman I was intrigued by her story and how she was doing today.

This was a quick read as Marie shares her journey of coming to terms with grief, the public, the government cover-up of her husbands death and finding new happiness and strength in life.
Julie
Such a sad true story of high school sweethearts whose marriage was cut short unnecessarily. If you are looking for the gruesome story of Tillman's death by friendly fire, this is not the book for you. This book is about Marie Tillman and her journey. It's a book for anyone who has suffered a loss and the process that one goes through with grieving. Kudos to Marie for sharing so openly!
Elly Smyczynski
I find myself drawn to these types of books as I'm fascinated by people who have navigated unimaginable pain. This was a bit of a slow read but interesting. I hesitate to negatively comment on someone's willingness to share such personal pain.

I do think it would have been better had she not interjected her political insights but perhaps that assisted in her healing.
Annette
Marie Tillman is a courageous woman who shared the story of the tragic loss of her husband Pat. It was a interesting journey that Marie followed during her acceptance and healing after Pat's death. Although she has begun a new chapter I her story portrays the love and loyalty she had for her husband and the devotion to his memory and service to our country.
Katie Otte
I wasn't sure if I was going to read this book and I am so glad that I decided to. Her writing was so eloquent, clear, heartfelt, and beautiful. I applaud her for opening up and sharing her experience with the world. And for me, I guess it was extra special knowing we had the common bond of the same hometown and high school. Beautiful, beautiful book.
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“Our lives should have depth, which means pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones and not taking the easy way out all the time.” 2 likes
“When Pat asked me the life, he didn't mean just that I should travel and have fun, although that was certainly part of it. He also meant that there's a weight to all of our lives, and he didn't want me to be frivolous with mine. If was a tragedy that Pat's life - while fully lived - was cut short. But it's also a tragedy to live a long life that isn't meaningful.” 1 likes
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