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

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3.95  ·  Rating details ·  873 ratings  ·  105 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
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published June 26th 2012 by Grand Central Publishing (first published January 1st 2011)
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Average rating 3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  873 ratings  ·  105 reviews


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Shaun
Jan 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Mikey B.
With all due respect for the anguish endured by Marie Tillman I decided to abandon this book with about one hundred pages left.

There are heartfelt moments when she describes how she coped when her husband died in Afghanistan – and then the gradual revelation of just how he died – by “friendly fire”.

As with most autobiographies it is inundated with mundane affairs. There was too much about her husband’s football career for example. The last one hundred, which I admittedly skimmed, were her readju
...more
Camelia Skiba
Apr 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Julia
Oct 20, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Melissa
Sep 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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 emot ...more
Angela
Aug 28, 2012 added it


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
Mary Kenyon
May 14, 2016 rated it it was ok
While the author is obviously well-educated (and well-off) this book isn't one I would recommend to those who are grieving. There seems to be little insight or answers for someone who has had a loss. While I most definitely sympathize with her tremendous loss, I found her casual affair two years after her husband's death most disturbing. I ended up flipping through the last half; there was no redeeming value to her grieving. She didn't really let the reader into her grief, except briefly, once o ...more
Susie
Sep 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For many years, my husband & I had Arizona State football season tickets and had the pleasure of seeing Pat Tillman play, when he was attending college there. Although we didn't attend Arizona Cardinals games, we were glad he joined them & stayed in Arizona. But like so many others, we were shocked, amazed and impressed when he chose to give up a lucrative career in the NFL to join the Army Rangers, shortly after the September 11th attacks. And like the rest of the world, we cried when we learne ...more
Stephanie
Jan 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Marie Tillman is such a calming person, in my opinion.

When I read Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman, every time I felt outraged, Marie Tillman would step in and calm me down. When I found out that she wrote her own account, I decided that I just had to read it.

This book was a quick read for me. Marie breaks the book into three parts, part one focuses on Pat's early years in the Army and his death while giving a summary of their relationship. Part two is when Marie is dealing with h
...more
Shane Schirmer
Jul 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
An interesting read, but one that necessitates an interest in Pat Tillman, and the events that led to his decision to join the Military. I really felt for Marie Tillman as I read this book. She certainly handles herself with great dignity and grace.
Brenda
Jun 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2012, favorites
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
Jun 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
Kara
Aug 03, 2012 rated it it was ok
Hard to rate a book like this. I certainly don't want to downplay her suffering or any of the things she went through and I can't imagine experiencing the same, but I didn't feel moved or really connected to her story.
Rose
Jul 08, 2012 rated it it was ok
I was very disappointed in this book. The loss of her husband was a terrible and needless tragedy, but I just couldn't relate to the choices she made following his death.
Peter Harrington
Sep 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
I gave this book four stars for the following reasons. It instantly earned some stars given the fact that the Author is also the one to read the book on CD; I prefer to listen to autobiography's and Non Fiction stories especially that are read by the author because not only do you get to hear what they wrote you can hear how they express what they wrote and that give you much more then just the written words. The book is obviously a very personal story from the Author who is a Widow; married to ...more
Ian Allan
May 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nice companion to the Jon Krakauer book, WHERE MEN SEEK GLORY.

I appreciate the author opening up and sharing her feelings of grief, walking us through what it might be like to have a love one killed in battle.

Impressive (on the audio version) that she reads it herself. Earlier in his life, she wasn't comfortable with public speaking. Now she's turned that around enough that she did the recording of the book (which was just fine).

As far as giving it a star rating, I got it at either 3 or 4.

For me
...more
Farzana Marie
Dec 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Courageous!

"I ask that you live." -Pat

"I kept that affirmation going in my mind. I was not broken." -Marie Tillman
Charlene
Jan 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
It was good to read a true, but sad story. War is wrong .
Jennifer Diaz
Jun 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Incredible story of surviving the death of a spouse.
Dianne Stevens
I didnt finish it, I got as far as the chapter 4 and lost interest. Had nothing to hold my attention.
Blake Eldridge
Dec 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This story is about an army wife(Marie Tillman) who loses her husband(Pat Tillman) in Afghanistan and tells her story of how she overcame that loss and explains the impact of his absence. She also explains the importance of the people who influenced her before the death of her husband and who helped her become the person she is now. Them being her husband, Pat, his brother, Kevin, and Marie's best friend, Christine. Although the death of Pat severely hurt Marie, all the characters were majorly e ...more
Candy
Feb 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
K2 -----
Aug 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
BA
Sep 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Brett Hinton
Aug 14, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, biography
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
Kela
Jul 25, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Jennifer
Jan 14, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Sep 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Heidi
Jul 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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You know the saying: There's no time like the present...unless you're looking for a distraction from the current moment. In that case, we can't...
24 likes · 10 comments
“Our lives should have depth, which means pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones and not taking the easy way out all the time.” 3 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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