My rating: 4 of 5 stars
“Yours Truly” is the third of four books that form the Women of Letters series, curated by Marieke Hardy and Michaela McGuire. The basic idea behind the books is that they hark back to the days of letter writing and involve Australian comedians, authors, actors, singers, journalists, artists, and politicians writing a letter in response to a particular prompt. The prompts vary from book to book, with some examples from “Yours Truly” including “To the history I’d like to rewrite”, “To the moment the lights came on”, “To the stranger who hopefully doesn’t know who I am”, and “To that thing on my body”.
What ensues is an array of wonderful letters, each of them independently worth reading. I would say the majority of them have at least a tinge of humor to them (how could they not with some of Australia’s finest on board?) and they also manage to be quite touching. “Yours Truly” is a delightful collection of memories (both fond and not-so-fond), revelations and realisations, expressions of fears and desires, repentance of sin, and plans for the future. Though the series is called “Women of Letters”, the books do feature letters by men. Typically, they are directed to “The woman that changed my life”, which is always interesting to read.
There’s usually four or five people who write about the same prompt and it’s also so fascinating to see how different people interpret the same starting sentence. I think that’s my favourite thing about the books. I remember when I read the previous two books that I would frequently chuckle to myself or find something particularly moving but when I went to recall which ones had affected me the most, I couldn’t pinpoint them. So, this time, I made sure to keep a pack of little sticky notes next to the book so I could quickly make a note of my favourites. If you do happen to pick up a copy, keep an eye out for the letters by Melanie Tait, Georgia Fields, Frank Woodley, and Kram (just some of my many favourites).
I would recommend this book if you love the art of writing letters and miss the practice of doing so! Who knows – maybe these books will inspire you to sit down and pen a lengthy (or short!) letter to someone important in your life. They are easy books to read but I often have to have another book on the go at the same time or else I find myself needing a fiction fix pretty badly (that could just be me though!).