“Yours Truly” by Women of Letters : Review

Yours Truly by Marieke Hardy

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!).

Have you read any of the Women of Letters series? Or perhaps gone to see a live reading? I desperately want to go to a live reading but took too long in getting tickets for the last one! Hopefully next time.
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Jacquie is a 20-something maker and writer from Melbourne. She enjoys eating virtually anything that is labelled salted caramel and, contrary to popular belief, has forgotten how to ride a bike. She feels ambivalent about writing in the third person but thought it might be fun. It was.

6 comments

  1. Karen Lynch

    I have only read "Six Women of Letters" which was a little mini publication by Penguin. I love these letters – the humour, the storytelling, the personality and emotion that comes out in the writing. They inspire me to write my own. Just a thought, may be we should do a BWP linky with any one who wants to do one? x

    Reply

  2. birdandfox

    Ah yes, that book is on my "To Buy" list – I hadn't even heard of it until I saw it on Goodreads a little while back. Sounds like a great little book to have in your bag for those moments when you have some spare time – I often find I wish I had a book with me when I'm waiting at the doctor's.

    The Women of Letters series really is one of my favourites. It makes me so happy that there are other people out there wanting to keep the art of writing letters alive. I definitely agree, Karen! I'd been thinking myself that it seems like such a great idea to try and incorporate into blogging and our little group. Did you want to post the idea to the group or shall I? xx

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  3. Mel - The Well Planned Wife

    I went to a women of letters live reading a few years ago based on "the moment the light went on". One of the speakers was Charlotte Dawson, talking about her marriage to Scott Miller. It was certainly a memorable talk then, and even more so now.

    I haven't actually read any of the books, but will have to add them to the list! Thanks for the review.

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  4. birdandfox

    Wow, that would have been a great reading to attend! I can definitely see why that would been an intriguing and memorable talk. I'm disappointed I've missed on the talks so far but will hopefully make it to one soon!

    Yes! I definitely recommend adding the whole series to your list – no two letters are the same.

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Mel! x

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  5. Laura

    I'll have to add this to my 'to read' list. I haven't read any of the books but they sound really interesting and insightful. I also like comparing how different people respond to the same prompt. Great review, Jacquie!

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  6. birdandfox

    Yes! That's one of the main reasons why I love the books so much. Especially when you get someone interpreting the prompt in a serious, even sad, way, and then the next person is completely the opposite with something really light-hearted and funny. I'm glad you enjoyed the review, Laura!

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