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The Letter Q: Queer Writers' Notes to their Younger Selves

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If you received a letter from your older self, what do you think it would say? What do you wish it would say?

That the boy you were crushing on in History turns out to be gay too, and that you become boyfriends in college? That the bully who is making your life miserable will one day become so insignificant that you won't remember his name until he shows up at your book signing?

In this anthology, sixty-three award-winning authors such as Michael Cunningham, Amy Bloom, Jacqueline Woodson, Gregory Maguire, David Levithan, and Armistead Maupin make imaginative journeys into their pasts, telling their younger selves what they would have liked to know then about their lives as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgendered people. Through stories, in pictures, with bracing honesty, these are words of love and understanding, reasons to hold on for the better future ahead. They will tell you things about your favorite authors that you never knew before. And they will tell you about yourself.

281 pages, Hardcover

First published May 1, 2012

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About the author

Sarah Moon

41 books67 followers
Sarah Moon is a teacher, writer, and translator. She lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

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5 stars
542 (34%)
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522 (33%)
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354 (22%)
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91 (5%)
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46 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 199 reviews
Profile Image for Jordan.
355 reviews2 followers
August 4, 2014
I inhaled the first one hundred pages of this volume in one sitting, and then I was trying figure out why that was. Moreover, I was trying to figure out why I was enjoying this book so much more than It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living, which I anticipated loving... and then didn't.

After another hundred pages of The Letter Q, I figured it out: I liked the specificity. The authors, actors, artists, and other creatives in this volume are addressing their younger selves, caught in a specific moment, a specific place, a specific mindset.

Savage's collection, while admirable in its scope and intentions, seldom moves beyond stale platitudes of, "It gets better, kid, because look! I'm a big shiny adult, and I'm happy as fuck!" That's nice to hear, and the Youtube videos add a needed visual to those stories... but to a kid in the closet, it's almost patronizing.

Here, however, the audience of these letters is the kid in the closet.
Do you play with the "wrong" toys? There's a letter for that.
Do you wear the "wrong" clothes? There's a letter for that.
Are you certain your parents will reject your honest self, and the pain is starting to feel unbearable? There's a letter for that.
Have you been threatened with knives, or words like knives? There's a letter for that.

Okay, I'll stop now. But the point I'm trying to make is that by addressing the reservations, panic attacks, insecurities, and conflicts of their younger selves, the authors of this volume create greater specificity. They show young readers exactly what they've overcome, and trace out exactly where that got them, which is tremendously valuable when you haven't developed that voice for yourself yet (here's looking at YOU, Self-in-2010).

Buy this title from Powell's Books.

PS- You should still read It Gets Better, or check out the videos, or support the Trevor Project, or do any number of related things. There's still tremendous value there, for me and for my future classroom.
Profile Image for Jude Watson.
71 reviews23 followers
January 11, 2021
Didn't finish, such a mixed bag. The letters by authors and artists I love were predictably fabulous (Erika Moen, Michael Cunningham), and it was sweet to read their reflections about their younger selves, but really I think this book is marketing itself falsely. I got two thirds through without a singe letter by a trans person, at which point I gave up. If you can't even be bothered to tokenize one trans author by putting them in the first half of the book, then you really are not trying at all. I should have known when the goodreads description used the word "Transgendered" in their description.
Profile Image for christine✨.
258 reviews29 followers
June 5, 2017
actual rating: 2.5 stars.

I really wanted to rate this higher.

On the one hand, I love the concept: a bunch of adult queer writers and the advice they'd give younger versions of themselves. It's a beautiful concept, and one that I think could really help today's teens. That being said, this book is marketed as a queer / LGBT+ book, when it's 85% L/G with a splash of B for color.

Assuming I didn't miss something super subtle, none of the 65 essays are written by trans authors. Not a single essay mentions asexuality. While I appreciated the essays from bisexual authors, they were few and far between. Of the bisexual authors, only three of them use the word bisexual - the others are left up to interpretation.

This is a book for gay or lesbian teens. This is not a book for trans teens - or teens who are questioning their gender identity. This is not a book for anyone on the ace spectrum either. This is only marginally even a book for bisexual teens.

This book is yet another example of what people really mean when they say LGBT - gay only! everyone else, thanks for playing!
Profile Image for Jennifer Rayment.
1,279 reviews53 followers
May 1, 2012
The Good Stuff

David Levithan's essay was so hilarious yet sweet and honest - will now be looking for some of his writing
A good mixture of humour, sadness and anger
The message of hope and forgiveness is so prevalent and beautifully and honestly done
Very powerful and inspiring
Brian Selznick's essay was extremely funny and tender
Martin Moran's essay is heartbreaking, so brave to have told his story - such strength of character and a very inspiring story to those LGBT youths with thoughts of suicide
Wise and non preachy advice for helping kids who are struggling with their sexuality

The Not So Good Stuff

Brutal to hear of parents & educators abuse of children over something as natural as sexual preference

Favorite Quotes/Passages

""I'm still not entirely sure whether I use the word irony correctly, but I believe there's something exquisitely ironic about making fun of your non-gay teacher for being gay, and then going home and listening to Barbara Streisand's Broadway Album over and over again." David Levithan

"Yes, the indignities you suffer at the hands of bigots can make you bitter. But they can also strengthen your ability to empathize with the oppressed, and in doing so, enlarge the capacity of your heart." Doug Wright

"You will discover that all gay men are not stylish, witty, promiscuous, and viciously entertaining. No one said that equality was going to be fun." Paul Rudnick

"I hear you say, I want to die, and it tears at my sould that you're only thirteen and ready to give up on life." and "No! Don't get back at everyone by dying. Get back at them by living and saving lives, starting with your own. Fight for your life." Mayra Lazara Dole

Who Should/Shouldn't Read

For teens of ALL genders and sexuality -- the message of believing and loving yourself apply to everyone and not just those struggling with their sexuality
My Uncle should have read this and maybe he would have loved and accepted his son no matter of Bruce's sexual preference. My cousin told his Dad that he was gay and my Uncle never spoke to him again. My Dad became a surrogate father to Bruce and tried to help him but ultimately Bruce's life was cut short by the acts of self-hatred and abuse (Drugs, alcohol, dangerous sexual partners, etc) caused by his fathers abandonment.
This should be in every public and school library so kids struggling can hear the message of hope that you will get through this from those who have
Required reading for ALL educators and parents

5 Dewey's

I received this from Scholastic in exchange for an honest review

My advice to my younger self

Michael Tinker is never going to go for you - get over him
Michael Corsini is MARRIED - he is scum for not telling you this -- but hey the man who ended up defending you and giving your friends hell - you end of marrying and having two beautiful heathens with him (And BTW he's moving you to Calgary next month so you might want to think about getting over your hatred of country music)
Stop with the diet pills, they are going to fuck up your digestive system for life -- you are beautiful the way you are
Stop pretending to be someone else so people will like you -- accept who you are and love yourself for that and people will actually like the real you
Don't sleep with all those divers -- they are not going to love you -- they just want in your pants and you will hate yourself for it
Don't have a fight with your Dad the night before he goes on vacation to Bermuda -- he dies there and you will not be able to tell him you are sorry and how lucky you were to have such an exceptional (and completely wacky) guy for a Dad
Get over your fear of driving (sorry snorter porter -- you still got to work on that one)
What that man did was wrong, he abused his position of power and it was not your fault!
For gods sake you are smart enough to go to University and become a Librarian - tell that nasty voice in your head to piss off (cause quite frankly Librarians get paid way more than the Library Technician you became)
Profile Image for Krys.
746 reviews170 followers
February 18, 2014

The Letter Q is a series of letters written from several gay authors to their younger selves. Many of these letter are affirmations, positive declarations about who the younger person will become. This collection is edited by Sarah Moon.

Within the pages of this slim book the reader will find 64 of the most provocative, sad, enlightening, inspiring tales you may ever read. The tales vacillate from comic to tragic and all of the in-betweens. I found a little bit of wisdom to come out of ever single story, but there are some that are simply more memorable than others. This is a very wonderful book and a great approach to widening the impact of the Gay rights movement.

Every teen should read this, not just the teens who think (or know) they might be gay. The stories in here touch upon many social issues that teens are faced with from day to day - peer pressure, bullying, unrequited love, rejection, the stress of college applications and achievement, ambivalent parents, fight or flight friends, love and sex - like I said, these issues have faced us all at one point in our adolescence. Where the authors succeed is in pointing out that these are not just Queer experiences. These things are human experiences and that single point alone should blur any political differences that one orientation has between another. We're all human and as such we are all entitled to live and love and make mistakes and overcome, and, at the heart of it, that's what this book is meant to do - remind us all that we must overcome the grueling period of our teens.

I loved this book. It's perfect. I'll be passing it on to every teen I know regardless of confusing orientation. Anyone will get something out of this one.

5 out of 5 stars.

- review courtesy of www.bibliopunkkreads.com
Profile Image for Nadia.
32 reviews
March 13, 2021
As a young queer person who has struggled with their mental health, this book literally felt like a breath of fresh air. I started crying a fourth of the way through the book because this book just made me feel so valid and so seen. It really makes me wonder about my future and what thats going to be like. I dont know, I just really enjoyed this book.
Profile Image for David.
22 reviews6 followers
March 26, 2018
I found this book a mixed bag, but that’s a good thing. The letters are usually short, 3-4 pages of the small format hardcover, and some of them were absolutely heartbreaking and so relatable for me. Others were “meh.” And there are A LOT of them, so near the end of the book I got tired and started skimming. I kept it fresh by usually only reading a few a day.
Profile Image for Missy.
49 reviews5 followers
August 31, 2015
I really wish there were letters from trans folks in this. So, that was disappointing.
Profile Image for Joan.
83 reviews
August 30, 2015
What a wonderful collection of stories written by adults to their younger selves. It is basically 64 people saying to young people to hang in there because life really does get better with every life experience you have.
245 reviews1 follower
June 28, 2017
Prepare to laugh and cry and relate way to hard to every word and finish in an afternoon.
Profile Image for Kaethe.
6,451 reviews474 followers
April 30, 2023
This is by no means recent, but it has a nice diversity of contributors. It is bittersweet. While things did very much get better for everyone, the remembered pain of their younger selves can be overwhelming. So, I've been picking away at it for 3 months.

The idea is thought-provoking and also frustrating because there wasn't any advice I could or would have used when I was a teen.

Library copy
119 reviews
May 6, 2020
I’m going to give this one a 4 because it seems wrong not to (but I had to double check my own rating system...this is really more like a 3.5). There were some gems in here; there were other bits that just didn’t speak to me. Nevertheless, it is a worthwhile read. For me, it is probably serves more as a source to mine for some great bits to pass on in my classes than something for my own pleasure and growth.
Profile Image for Alan.
Author 12 books94 followers
July 28, 2012
This is a collection of letters, notes, and comic strips from sixty-four award-winning writers and illustrators such as Michael Cunningham, Terrence McNally, Amy Bloom, Armistead Maupin, David Leavitt, Christopher Rice, and Susan Stinson. Each of these “letters” are messages the authors have written to their younger selves to ease the bumpy road of growing up an lgbt youth, all in the tone of “It Gets Better.” They give bracingly honest reasons for young people to tough it out, and hold out for a better future.

These letters are written with unyielding perception, humor, and tenderness. Many of the letters are both eloquent and touching, reminding me of many of my own experiences growing up. They give a united voice of uplifting support of queer youth. I do wish I could have read this while growing through my teens.

I confess that I did not read all of these letters, simply because the themes are so repetitive it gets tiresome. Still I did read all my favorite authors, which many were represented here, and several writers I had not heard of before now, but will certainly read more of.

This book is a must read for any queer youth struggling to accept their sexuality or who are experiencing discrimination from the community. There is a clear and important message repeatedly banged like a bass drum, that queer kids are cool, and important, and just as worthy as anybody else. And the messages to tough it out, because it certainly does get better, is at their core all messages of hope, and of love. I highly recommend this book to all readers, young and old, queer and straight, sons, daughters, and parents.
Profile Image for C.E. G.
926 reviews35 followers
June 10, 2012
3.5 stars. Perhaps it would have been a better experience if I hadn't wolfed down the book in two or three sittings, because at times the stories started feeling redundant. But all the pieces were heartfelt, many were beautifully written, and there are diverse voices in here, though a little more diversity is always a desirable improvement.

The comics were great, especially the ones by Lucy Knisley and Michael DiMotta. And I loved Diane DiMassa's piece for its grit and refusal to sugar coat adulthood. And there were plenty of lines in the essays that I would have highlighted if it weren't a library book.

One thing that I can't fault the book for but that distracted me nonetheless: the grandfather paradox. I kept worrying that the writers were divulging too much to their younger selves before remembering that time travel is still NOT POSSIBLE (and this book is probably more about reaching current teens/storytelling rather than an expression of what the authors actually wish they could have known back then). But just in case, if I had to send a letter, I think it would be really brief and vague. Like, "hey x - made it to 24. there is plenty of happiness for you here, and it's worth it." But even that feels like too much info. I think I watched too much TV growing up.
24 reviews
February 1, 2019
In this eye-opening non-fiction book, The Letter Q. The editor Sarah Moon found and asked sixty-four gay, lesbian, and bisexual writers, illustrators and publishers to write letters to their younger selves. This is a collection of letter and comics, giving themselves advice on what they could have done better to make their lives a little brighter growing up as LGBT. Making reference to the painful times such as bulling, self-harm and thoughts of suicide. These letters can be a very powerful and touching book for those going through these same experiences. Some of these famous authors include Marion Dane Bauer, Jacqueline Woodson and many more.

Profile Image for Simon Vandereecken.
Author 2 books51 followers
March 18, 2018
Un ensemble d'auteurs qui prennent la plume pour écrire aux jeunes adolescents qu'ils/elles ont été. Extrêmement touchant, plein d'espoir sans tomber dans la béatitude, terre à terre mais salvateur. Triste de constater que les pensées suicidaires sont malheureusement le lot quand on découvre notre différence, mais heureux de voir toutes ces figures venir redonner de l'espoir et insuffler que l'on surmonte et dompte ces pensées, allant même jusqu'à puiser en elles pour grandir. Touchant.

"Don’t ever confuse “normal” with “better.”"
Profile Image for Danielle.
136 reviews2 followers
September 23, 2018
A friend let me borrow this book. I had to take breaks from it. It's heartbreaking and hopeful. Too real. I identified with so much in each letter. We have come a long way, but we still have e a long way to go.
Profile Image for Yael Hanadari-Levy.
86 reviews1 follower
June 24, 2017
I stayed up (not all night, but only because I read very quickly) reading this book.
Books don't make me cry, but this one brought me pretty close. In a good way.
Profile Image for Paul.
825 reviews
October 17, 2017
What a lovely, lovely idea. Now I think I'm going to write to teenage me...
Profile Image for Rick.
2,472 reviews
January 30, 2020
Had some trouble deciding on four or five stars for my rating of this book. There are some precious gems in these pages. There are some powerful passages in these short and poignant samples of prose, with some lovely graphic pieces as well. But then they a few that for some reason, perhaps incorrectly, didn’t quite ring true. Some are so strong that I was almost in tears with wishing that I could have gotten a letter from my older self at those moments when it felt like i just wanted my own heart to just stop beating. ... Let me it this way...

Hi guy, Yeah, that got your attention didn’t it. Anyway, it’s me. Or rather you. I’m writing to you from 2020. Yeah, the world is still around. Not a big surprise, I know, because I know you don’t really think that will ever happen (although I have to admit that these days I’m not so sure any more). Here’s the thing, I know you’ve just come to THAT realization and actually applied it to yourself. After what? Something like five years, you’ve got a label for why you’re always changing gender pronouns in songs and why you never feel like you fit in with everyone else.
Congratulations. Be happy. The worst is over. It’s 1976 and all those things you think are going to be forever, aren’t. Well, that’s not exactly true. You’ll always love books. And comics. And movies. And guys. So some things don’t change. But your obsession with KISS isn’t going to last much longer than two more years. That’s probably a good thing. Your taste in music really needs to grow. I wish you could stop worrying so much, but I think that’s useless to hope for. I wish you’d come out to everyone right now, but I know you won’t. Texas is way too hostile to people like us. And, surprise, you’re going to be moving again. And Ohio may sound like it will more like Pennsylvania, but it’s really a lot more like Texas than it should be. That really isn’t want I’m writing to you about. I wish I could tell you to push your dad toward moving to Kansas instead. But that certainly seems like way to close to Texas to be acceptable. And only some weird alternate reality knows how that might turn out. But all the things that inexplicably make Junior High’s excruciatingly horrible years bearable are not going to be there for you in High School. No friends. No book room or AV training to get out of boring a Study Hall. I wish I could tell you to stay in college that first time, but you wouldn’t listen anyway, so why should I bother. It is still going to be way, way too much like all the bad things from High School magnified a thousandfold. People in this book I just finished kept saying to their younger selves that it’s going to get better and for some people I’m sure it does, but not for everyone. And it’s actually going to get worse for you. I’m not gonna sugarcoat it, you’d see through that big fat lie right anyway. But it’s not always gonna be bad. That’s the real takeaway. Your gonna discover you LOVE spicy food, that it was just your parents bland sensibilities that kept telling you to believe you didn’t. Your gonna have some wonderful boyfriends, I just wish you wouldn’t drive the good ones away. You worry too much. Remember, I told you not to do that. It makes you crazy and it drives them crazy. Did you drive the right one away? Maybe. Or maybe you’re better off alone. Who knows. There’s some great movies coming. And some great books, you’re reading Dune right now and it’s gonna be one of those things you’ll still love for decades to come. But there are so many other good books that you haven’t discovered yet. You’ll still love Doc Savage though, and you’ll actually get them all read over the course of twenty five years. So, yeah, there’s some things that don’t change. Some that do. Some bad things and some good. I just wish I could convince to not be so hard on yourself, and to not worry so much. But I know I can’t. I know I can’t change the past, but maybe, just maybe, somewhere, there’s a version of reality where I can somehow reach back in time and grab hold of you and tell you that you are loved. It’s just gonna take a long, long time to get you to believe that because you’ve had so many people lie to you about it already. Because they sure don’t act like they mean it so they?
So, hang in there. You’re gonna get here someday, you just have to take the long way to do it.

So, how to rate this book? Four or five? Want to know what I did? I put my thumb over the spot between those two unfilled stars and let chance decide. See, I learned to stopped worrying so much.
Profile Image for Rebecca Kiefer.
95 reviews10 followers
February 24, 2020
I felt like I was in an in-between stage with this totally missed me. I knew I wouldn’t be the target audience, as I’m no longer (thank god) a teen, but it was hard to relate to the letter writers either, as it seemed the youngest were still a decade older, and many were closer to my parents in age. I’m not sure how helpful I would’ve found this as a teen - of course it’s easier to judge how your life improves when you’ve gotten to live the majority of it!

I was sad, but not surprised, to not find any ace authors included, and I feel like this would be hard for any aro people to read since most of the letters involve finding romantic love that solves most everything. (And to be honest, the focus on sexual love/sexual activity would’ve just made me more confused as a teen and was frustrating to read as an adult.) I also wish there had been more questioning-affirming rep. Almost all the letters seemed to be from the perspective of having “always known” your identity and finally getting to embrace it in adulthood, instead of spending lots of time being unsure.
Profile Image for Jess.
10 reviews
August 4, 2022
Decent read! Would’ve loved it more closer to when I was first coming to terms with my identity. The letters eventually started feeling repetitive. I wish there were more transgender writers in the mix but overall good read.
Profile Image for Lena.
37 reviews
May 6, 2020
Really cute and hopeful book, like a big hug when you need it.
Profile Image for Christa Seeley.
961 reviews95 followers
July 22, 2012
Originally posted at Hooked on Books

How do I even begin to write a review of this collection? No matter what I write it won't be enough to express the impact this The Letter Q had on me.

Every single letter in this collection was incredibly thoughtful, moving and most of all brave. These authors really put themselves out there. All their fears, struggles, confession - they didn't hold back. And I have a huge amount of respect for them. It couldn't have been easy for Julie Anne Peters to admit that she sat in a park and thought about someone murdering her or for David Levithan to admit that he had bullied one of his teachers.

It also amazed me how young so many of them where when they began to realize they were gay/lesbian/bisexual. So often when the sex in YA debate comes up, you hear opponents claiming teens are too young to think about "that kind of stuff." But these letters prove that kids do have questions, and books, of all things, should make them think about these things instead of pushing them away.

For the rest of this review I just wanted to share some of my favourite passages from the collection and why they were so meaningful:

From Stacy D'Erasmo's letter: "You're just as you should be. All that desire is going to turn out to be your compass in life. You're going to fall in love with incredible women, incredible men and they are going to fall in love with you" (p. 53) --> Because that's all any of us want right? To know we will be loved.

From Erik Orrantia's letter: "sometimes things get worse before they get better, but they do get better" (p. 65). --> Maybe not the ideal, but will definitely stick with me when things are getting difficult. And remind me that there is always hope.

From Arthur A Levine's letter: "With books in particular you are drawn to stories where a person has hidden talents, unappreciated skills, a great destiny perhaps. Remember the name Harry Potter" (p. 82) ---> This was probably the passage I could most relate to. I'm sure many of us can. Harry Potter was truly something magical and inspirational.

From Gregory Maguire's letter: " You actually get PUBLISHED! And you get to be friends with some of your HEROES! Like oh not to name names but like MAURICE SENDAK! I know! I KNOW! SCREAMMM!" --> Reassured me that you can grow up and be successful and still totally be a fanboy/girl for the things you love. And you'll find other people who feel that way too.

From Brent Hartinger's letter: "but it's one of life's strange paradoxes that the only way to find true love is to be willing to risk being devastated by losing it. Who knew love was so much like a Star Trek episode?" (p. 187) --> For being honest yet inspirational. And refrencing Star Trek while doing so.

Whether GLBTQ or straight this book should be on your to-read list. Every school library should have a copy, or twelve. Letters like these can change lives. They can save lives.

Final recommendation: I think everyone should read this book. Even if you've never questioned your sexual orientation, this collection has the power to inspire you.
Profile Image for Lex.
423 reviews8 followers
June 25, 2019
Another one I've had checked out for like, actual months. I liked it well enough. There's always something to be said for tugging on your heart strings with letters to your past self, but a lot of them were a lot more poignant due to the queer aspect than I've found other versions of this same theme. A lot of yearning.

My favorites were Gregory Maguire, Sarah Moon, Benoit Denizet-Lewis, and Nick Burd's.

"Once is enough and once is sometimes necessary."

"I understand. I'll be here when you get here. I'll be so glad to see you."

"One day you'll meet a man whose eyes are so startling you understand you'll never know the end of him."

"It's a lovely dream to have a fairy-tale romance. But dreaming that dream has a consequence too. The consequence is yearning. It hurts, doesn't it?"

"You're going to find the love of your life, a tall beautiful woman, who is kind and warm and Southern. She will whisper secrets to you in a voice that sounds like dessert."

"Stop being a Lost Boy, settle for being a dwarf pirate, maybe Smee."

"This is the thing: You'll love Dad. You'll look to him for advice and support and there will be times when he is the only person you think you can call. He will be there for you. He will tell you he loves you and that he's proud of you. And all of this will happen after he knows your most hidden, most ashamed secrets. All these things that make you feel like a monster now. He will now them. And he will be proud of you. I promise."

"Your whole entire family in every single version that exists and will exists loves you with its entire fumbling heart."

"You will have lots of friends. Try being vulnerable in front of them - they'll like you for it."

"It's okay that your friends make fun of you for liking folk music. It will make a comeback!"

"Your parents are rock solid, full of what Saul Bellow called "potato love." It's the ordinary, daily stuff that shapes everything."

"Some will appear on corners on Tuesday afternoons while you are checking to see if you have enough cash for both an iced coffee and a chocolate croissant. This will sometimes happen hundreds of miles from the place you both met and left them, and you will realize the past is chasing you with a knife in its teeth and a daisy in its hand. Smile at these people even if you don't want to. Men are handsome when they smile."

"When the waiter comes, play a game where you try to get him to sit across from you without actually asking him to do so."
Profile Image for Lelia Taylor.
872 reviews17 followers
April 24, 2012
The Letter Q:
Queer Writers’ Notes To Their Younger Selves
Sarah Moon, editor
James Lecesne, contributing editor
Arthur A. Levine Books, May 2012
ISBN 978-0-545-39932-6
Hardcover (ARC)

The title of this remarkable anthology says it all—a multitude of LGBT authors, more than sixty of them, have come together to tell themselves as young adults what they wish they had known back then. In doing so, they also are reaching out to today’s youth who are struggling with their sexual identities, letting them know they are not alone and others have felt the way they feel. Written for age 14 and up, the letters are honest, emotional and forthright, no holds barred. There are even practical suggestions for making one’s own life just a little bit easier.

Some of the writers involved will be a surprise to readers and some will not but that really doesn’t matter because the point of it all is to make the road just a little easier for the younger generation. The target audience is obvious but this is a book that can be appreciated just as much by those of us who are not LGBT because it gives us a small glimpse of what life is like for young adults who are unsure of themselves and those who ARE sure but are having difficulty finding a comfortable place in our world. One really important note is that this book will strike a chord with all teenagers who are struggling with issues of any kind, not just sexual identity.

Has this been done before? Perhaps it has but, if so, I haven’t seen it. The authors and editors and publisher involved all are to be commended for a fine idea executed brilliantly and with great compassion, so much that I was frequently brought to tears. I strongly recommend it for young adults and adults alike and especially would like to see it shelved in every school library. Lives can literally be saved.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, March 2012.
Profile Image for Barbara.
13.2k reviews277 followers
June 10, 2012
What a wonderful idea for a book! Sixty-four authors and illustrators write letters to their younger selves, offering advice and inspiration. In a sort of "If I'd known then what I know now" fashion, the short entries offer insight into their lives as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered individuals. All are reminders that it does get better if you can just hold on. After all, high school is not life, and there is hope for everyone. Because the letters come from so many different creative spirits who represent different periods in modern history, teens today will be able to catch glimpses of how much things have changed, just over the past three decades. Many entries describe the writer's partner or husband or children, possibilities never considered a few years ago. Some of the entries (Paige Braddock) made me laugh so hard while others (Mayra Lazara Dole) broke my heart. Two particular favorites were written by Brian Selznick who actually wrote a letter to his future self when he was 13 and Arthur A. Levine who describes the different prejudices he faced when he was junior high. One author, David Levithan, even owns up to owing an apology to his science teacher, reminding readers that it is possible to be both a bully and someone being bullied. In the concluding letter, David Ebershoff describes burning the gay books he read one summer ("Evidence in black ink and cheap mass market pulp that your existence is worthy of print" (p. 264) in order to keep his sexual identity a secret. Although many of the authors won't be familiar to teen readers, several will, and reading their stories, told through text and drawings, is likely to expand their horizons and offer hope for the future. This is a wonderful collection of stories, not just for the queer or questioning teens in our lives, but all the humans in our circle of acquaintances.
6 reviews2 followers
March 16, 2016
If you could tell your younger self anything, absolutely anything, what would you say. Well that’s what The Letter Q edited by Sarah Moon showcased, but the special thing about this book was that fact that it was comprised of all queer writers(LGBT). I was attracted to this book because I was extremely interested in what someone would tell themselves and then use their advice to apply to myself in order to enhance my life.

As a whole, this book had everything from the boy who dreamed of having a wonderful wife, to learning he marries the husband of his dreams. As wells as the bisexual teen who ended up getting through all the torment from her small southern town to, living with her husband in San Francisco. The stories of this book were all similar yet unique and inspiring in their own ways. They tell of a common “It gets better” theme and tell their younger selves of their amazing lives and spouses.

My favorite over all was a letter written by Brian Selznick, after finding a letter from himself as a teenager at the age of 40 he responds. His letter back was amazing, with the same childlike excitement as he originally wrote to himself as in his response. Brian gets into the head of his younger self and examines his thoughts as a young boy. It was amazing to read his self reflection and use his criticism and praise of himself to use to judge your own action right now at this very moment in life.

These letters were the perfect things to read as a gay teen, they are like the mentors you never had, each giving it own piece of advice and wisdom to get you through another one of life's problems. I found this book to be helpful, and extremely important to read for someone who struggles through everyday life as a young LGBT person.
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Author 6 books1,237 followers
April 27, 2012
The Letter Q is a poignant collection of countless letters from several LGBT authors to their younger selves holding hope, wisdom and hindsight. The book is beautifully bound, its pages smooth and able to withstand time and tears. The short letters invite the reader into the heads and personal lives of not the children these authors were but also the adults they have become. While many of the letters entreat their younger selves not to give in, not to give up and not to capitulate to what society demands of them, there are also some, such as Levithan’s (which was a particular favourite of mine) that portray an awareness in self, a growth that is heartwarming.

What the Letter Q offers young children is priceless. The book is physical proof that the child/teenager questioning his/her sexuality, sexual orientation is not alone, that whatever questions, whatever experiences he or she is going through at the moment, others have also gone through and more than that, they have survived and survived successfully at that. This is the kind of reassurance that is invaluable to a child who is much more vulnerable to attacks and fears.

If you are an adult reading this review, I recommend that you buy this novel for any young person because whether or not they are sexually confused, reading this novel will give them an insight to the thoughts and feelings of children who often cannot find the voice to express themselves. I found this to be touching, sad and yes, hopeful. I recommend this to everyone.
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