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Other People's Love Letters: 150 Letters You Were Never Meant to See

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  2,726 Ratings  ·  243 Reviews
Fevered notes scribbled on napkins after first dates. Titillating text messages. It's-not-you-it's-me relationship-enders. In Other People’s Love Letters, Bill Shapiro has searched America’s attics, closets, and cigar boxes and found actual letters–unflinchingly honest missives full of lust, provocation, guilt, and vulnerability–written only for a lover’s eyes. Modern love ...more
ebook, 215 pages
Published February 9th 2011 by Potter Style (first published October 30th 2007)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Anya
A week ago, I was going through my old notebooks and found a love letter I had written to my ex-boyfriend on his birthday. And I was not ready for the onslaught of emotions that caught me unguarded. Frisson-y feelings aside, I felt like a voyeur reading it because the me who wrote it and the me that I am now are two completely different persons. (I couldn't recognise the wide-eyed girl who spout things such as "In my mind, I like to think of you as my favourite book. In boy form." Who the heck s ...more
Athena
Jun 24, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"I think i enjoy being single. I was very lonely for a long time after we went separate ways. I missed the emotional pulls and pushes, the physical caresses and kisses, and the intellectual challenges you gave me. I've stumble more than once without you to hold me up. And there've been many times when I've had something to share and no one to share it with. I havent met anyone who comes close to you. And, I too think maybe someday...but, I also know that I'm growing in ways I couldn't have grown
...more
Jessica
Jun 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm suprised by the amount of low ratings for this book. I really enjoyed reading the love letters and getting a glimpse into other people's relationships. I liked that they were legitimate letters that people had written- ranging from a young kindergarteners letter to a couple from long ago. I also really enjoyed how at the end there were stories about some of the letters, explaining more about what actually happened with them. All in all this was a very interesting book to read.
Malbadeen
Apr 14, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: pre teen sappy girls
disappointment #2 in a night spent wandering around Powells. Ya know i go to the hard work of showing up at the book store, putting up with the crowds saying things like, "oh my god! you don't like Jane Austin?! I'm a classics girl, that's the kind of reader I am", you'd think my selective grab-it-on-the-way-to-the-coffee-shop-method would reap some better materials. but Noooooooooo.....
as I read this letters i mostly felt awkward for the people that wrote them, in how trite they sounded and was
...more
Bonnie
Dec 23, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Bonnie by: Marie
Interested in more of my reviews? Visit my blog!

’You should know…that still my life is consumed by you.’

This was an interesting little book that I was not expecting to like as much as I did. The title of the book may be ‘Other People’s Love Letters’ but they aren’t all your standard love letters. These are rejection letters, text messages, telegrams, breakup letters, letters of apology, but there are also true love letters that honestly had me crying at times. I quite enjoyed how some of these l
...more
karen
Jul 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was too exited to read this book, and the more I read the more disappointed I was, it wasn't interesting for a while. Then I realized why, because it wasn't my love letters. I have no idea whom they were for, I bet that these people's letters made so much more sense to them and they drank every word up of these letters and enjoyed they so much more than a stranger (like me) ever could, because I wouldn't never understand. And just like that I realized how uniquely we are able to love, how diff ...more
Lolly K Dandeneau
Nov 04, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Apparently other people's love letters just aren't that interesting.
Erin
Jul 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed being a sanctioned voyeur with this book. There's something about other people's correspondence, particularly romantic correspondence, that I find hard to resist.

I felt ok about being a voyeur (and so was able to enjoy the book) because the letters were reprinted with permission of the author, or in some cases, the author's closest living relative. Some of these letters were very, very private and it would feel wrong to read them behind someone's back, as it were. But since they were c
...more
Spencer
Nov 22, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The stuff in Found magazine is so much better and diverse. these are love notes and break up notes of pathetic unimaginative white suburbanites that had some connection to the author. This gave me a stomach ache. Why would I have that reaction? Ugh.
Once this 10 volume journal was "donated" to value village. (without the owners consent, I am sure. Anyways, I read it. It spanned this womans life from abt 20 to 30 yrs old. And the whole thing was this self absorbed petty nonsense. As I became inti
...more
Allison
Apr 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people in waiting rooms, airports, bus rides, dull dinner parties
think found.com meets postsecret.com meets a dusty shoebox of letters in the attic meets text messages... quite well-balanced in terms of including the dear johns, the honeymoon love bliss, the break-ups, make-ups, hate mail, sext messages, historical sonnets, etc.

Addictive, really.

One of my favorites, inscribed on an airplane sick bag:

"What I really feel...
If you were here now,
I would kiss you.
I would hold your hand and
look at you with wonder.
And then, if you would let me,
I would kiss you again
...more
Angela
I'm not sure how to review a book like this because it has no characters. But i've had this book for a while and it just laid around my house as one of those books that its just always there and you never read.. Butttt since my group was having a challenge for valentines day i thought hey what the heck why not? And im glad because it was so cute! I loved getting to read these cute little letters some on napkins and some even typed. Absolutely adorable. Deffinatly a cute read for valentines day.
Marie
Dec 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I cried. I laughed. I was confused. I was disgusted. I was intrigued. The gauntlet of emotions that this book produces is endless. I was glad to get this from the library if not just to have something different to look at. Some of these stories touched my soul so profoundly that I wrote a letter to my loved one just to make sure that maybe in 100 years someone will read it and know that love is all shapes and sizes and has endless amounts of beauty.
Bfg1971
Jul 31, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Came downstairs this morning and this was on the counter. Picked it up, glanced at it, and put it down. Walked away, got coffee, picked it back up, and I tore through it. Funny, sweet, disturbing, and sad all at the same time. A little voyeuristic romp through other people's most intimate moments. If you aren't careful, you might see a little bit of yourself in it.
jess
Jul 23, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008
love letters are this secret, complicated communication zone where we produce material with the intention of only one person ever reading it. at least i know i do... and then, in this book, we can read everyone else's secret love notes, break-up letters, anniversary poems, text messages, emails, sweet comics, and even a myspace message. the amazing thing is how very much these letters and notes are just like the material produced by our own relationships. there are love letters from 1939 and 200 ...more
Danica
Aug 16, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Much less than I expected. What was I expecting? Tales of anguish and redemption springing off each page; a book of pop-up love stories, the kind that can unfold a castle before your eyes. The problem I suspect with collating love letters in a venture of this sort is that you get a self-selecting population that reads and responds to open calls for materials published in books of this kind. That was an overly elaborate way of saying that if you were an alien reading this book you’d be convinced ...more
Temoca
Jan 29, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoy these books, gathering little snipets of writing. I tend to go for these to help buld ideas for writing lessons in my classroom. The great thing is, you can always find a few that call out to you. So while some don't apply or you don't understand, others do and it's different for everyone. This helps me to show my students all the possibilities in writing. I would pick and choose which pieces to bring into the classroom depending on the grade level and appropriateness.

I also love that I
...more
jennifer
Exactly as the title describes, this is a book of love/anguish letters collected from as far back as 100 years ago. Some are very brief and get to the point, others are long, passionate, reprimanding and cover about every other emotion that can enliven or thwart a relationship. Some favorites are the e-mail that begins:

"Ken, I would definitely advise you to cultivate your courting skills. Months of emailing do not a relationship make."

Or the 1939 letter from a young wife telling her new husband
...more
Stephanie
Dec 09, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-nf
I thought some of the letters in the book were interesting to read, but I thought some of them didn't really need to be in there also. On top of that, I felt really weird reading this book, in an invasion-of-privacy type of way; which is I guess the point of the book to begin with, as far as using people's awkward letters to show real life. But really, was it necessary? It's like trying to read self-tabloids. Who volunteers emails they've written to their ex-spouse concerning their divorce for a ...more
Keera
Jan 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
I loved this book. I'm a huge fan of Post-Secret, Found, and Mortified. I would read one letter and then flip back to the Postscript section to find out what happened to the pair. This letters made me smile, laugh, and a few even brought me to tears. It took me only a few hours to read, but I really enjoyed the ride.
Jenna
Jan 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was planning to give this book three stars because I was upset by the feeling of being left hanging and not knowing how the stories ended, but alas! A postscript at the end earned a fourth star. Cute book.
Michelle
Mar 02, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who love love
Some are heartbreaking, some are hopeful, some are so convoluted I wondered what the receiver saw in the sender. All made me hopeful about love. The best part of the book was reading the behind the scenes of the letters: which relationships made it, which ones didn't.
Ming D. Liu
Feb 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, poetry
Super cute! I love how much hope this collection holds. Although some letters were hard to read because of the handwriting, most of them almost sound like poetry.
Kay Smith
Nov 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Could have used a few more in there! Fun tabletop book for giggles, I definitely thought this was a fun read.

But really, would have loved to see much, much more. Only complaint.

#allthelove
Tanya Feke
Jan 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This collection is hopeful and heart-breaking, a voyeuristic glimpse into our own humanity. What we write in a moment of passion, be it in awe or despair, reveals so much about who we are, what we hold dear. It is too easy to judge in a world that thrives on the superficial. Other People's Love Letters reminds you to treat others with kindness. You never know what they may be going through.
Ronel
Dec 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This is the first time I read a compilation of anything (in recent memory). I don't even remember where I got this compilation from or even why I got it (probably because of the title). I am not quite sure what to say about this book, and from scrolling through the reviews of others that feeling is quite mutual by all the 3 star ratings (and some that clearly hated it).

But ultimately, I really enjoyed it. This compilation was not what I expected at all. I expected long winding letters that all u
...more
C.
Jan 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a great Goodwill find, especially so close to Valentine's Day (and in perfect condition!). It was a quick read, so I ended up finishing it all in one morning. Altogether it was a really sweet anthology of notes, some long, some just a few words, all of them beautiful in some way or another. It was balanced well between the good and the bad, with the more heart-ache inducing letters wedged between the lovey-dovey ones.

What I liked about it was the set up; it's a gorgeous book inside and
...more
Anna
I can't remember where I first saw this book, but looking at it made me think of PostSecret. Since I wanted to read that, I figured this was some sort of spin-off and that I should read it and enjoy it too.

The problem with this book is that I couldn't connect with it the same way I did with PostSecret. The genius of PostSecret is that it is basically, for the most part, full of aphorisms. It's easy to connect with aphorisms. But the whole of this book was full of cliches for me, and I couldn't c
...more
Debbie Robson
I ordered this book from another library mistakenly thinking it would have love letters from the last century as well as the current one. The majority of the letters are from the last fifteen years or so but I enjoyed the book nevertheless, particularly with the approach Bill Shapiro, the editor has chosen. He has had the letters reproduced photographically so that the book is an interesting montage of cards, typed letters, emails and notes. The emails I found particularly interesting.

There's "
...more
Keshia
Feb 15, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Our school's library did this thing where they wrapped up books in newspaper and encouraged us to go on a "blind date" with them, in other words, check a book out without knowing what you would get. This is how I cam across this book, and I am quite glad I did.

It was an interesting read, not something full just of sappy love letters but of break up letters and rejections letters--real things. And I was amazed by some of the things that people wrote, some things that I myself have thought and wr
...more
Stef
Aug 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the book I read directly after "98 Love Letters That Will Bring You To Your Knees" (which left me bored and still standing). THIS collection is far more powerful, and at times, even brought tears to my eyes. Modern and relatable, the reader is given no context about the the letters, which range from being a couple lines scribbled on a Post-It to a multi-paragraph email to a handwritten card. Still, between the details and included to the way chosen to send the message, so much of the wri ...more
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Share This Book

“I hate feeling so weak and vulnerable.

I hate that I miss him.

I hate that I am alone, and I always was.

I hate that I made him into a superhero, he was not.

I hate that he doesn't want to kiss me.

I hate that every time I cry over one boy it's like crying over all of them again.”
44 likes
“Reading all my old love letters was disorienting. You remember thinking the thoughts and writing the words but, man, you can't TOUCH those feelings. Its like they belonged to someone else. Someone you don't even know. I'm aware, in an intellectual way. That I felt all those things about him, but this emotions are far away now.
What's so strange to me is that I can't even force my heart back to that place where I felt that all consuming passion. That makes me feel distant from myself. Who WAS I then? Will I ever be able to get back to that place? Reading the letters again made me wonder: Which is the real me? The one who saw the world in that emotionally saturated way, or the me who sees it the way I do now?”
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