If You Find This Letter by Hannah Brencher
Reviewed 18 April 2015
5 / 5 Stars
A heartwarming memoir of love and faith from Hannah Brencher, founder of The World Needs More Love Letters, who has dedicated her life to showing total strangers that they are not alone in the world.
Fresh out of college, Hannah Brencher moved to New York, expecting her life to look like a scene from Sex and the City. Instead, she found a city full of people who knew where they were going and what they were doing and didn’t have time for a girl still trying to figure it all out. Lonely and depressed, she noticed a woman who looked like she felt the same way on the subway. Hannah did something strange–she wrote the woman a letter. She folded it, scribbled If you find this letter, it’s for you on the front and left it behind.
When she realized that it made her feel better, she started writing and leaving love notes all over the city–in doctor’s offices, in coat pockets, in library books, in bathroom stalls. Feeling crushed within a culture that only felt like connecting on a screen, she poured her heart out to complete strangers. She found solace in the idea that her words might brighten someone’s day.
Hannah’s project took on a life of its own when she made an offer on her blog: She would handwrite a note and mail it to anyone who wanted one. Overnight, her inbox exploded with requests from people all over the world. Nearly 400 handwritten letters later, she started the website, The World Needs More Love Letters, which quickly grew.
There is something about receiving a handwritten note that is so powerful in today’s digital era. If You Find This Letter chronicles Hannah’s attempts to bring more love into the world,and shows how she rediscovered her faith through the movement she started.
I’m almost ashamed it took me nearly a month to finish this book. I learned early in the reading process that this book needs time to digest and savor. It’s not to be rushed. Enjoy a chapter an evening and let that simmer on low in the back of your head for a while. Stir. Continue.
I fell in love with The World Needs More Love Letters movement in 2012. I was a senior in high school and I wrote to Hannah saying I wanted to be a part of it. But she was this goddess running this piece of magic that was changing the world and I was incapable of doing anything to help outside of my busy high school life. And yet, through her busy schedule, she found time to reply to me – a girl with a dream to change the world (or, help someone change the world) and a girl with terrible time management. But I attempted to do it anyway and started leaving love letters. I now leave letters in books, to bookworms who potentially need a pick me up mostly, as well as the occasional sticky note and envelope tucked into the confines of my work place. I’m indebted to Hannah for giving me the opportunity to make my own little mark within her big one.
When I found out she was writing a book, my heart soared. I preordered it on Amazon 2 months before it came out and fell in love with her words all over again within the first 4 sentences of cracking the spine. I hope she knows the impact she’s made on a now 21 – year-old girl, providing me a role model with a healthy addiction to love and words as I do.
I suppose I should get to the book review now, but I think I already did. Hannah and her project gave me something to aspire to be. Someone to idolize and want to be more like. Her book only reinforced that idea, reading that she started out rough and slowly her edges began to smooth out. I relate to this more than she will ever know and I consider myself lucky to have been blessed with her story for more than 3 years.
I’ll end with this:
If you don’t know what you’re doing anymore, read this book. Find hope in her words, realize that anyone and everyone needs to learn to swim sometimes and your life is bigger than this. You’ll think it’s a few sizes too big at first and if awkwardly hangs off you like a dress, but darling, you can learn to become a decent tailor and make it look like it was made for you. and Hannah can help with that.