Monday, April 30, 2018

Dear Old Love: Anonymous Notes to Former Crushes, Sweethearts, Husbands, Wives, & Ones That Got Away - Compiled by Andy Selsberg

Summary: You're not alone.  Share the stories, share the love.  Commiserate -- or find dozens of reasons to feel better.  To be read with or without a glass of wine (or shot of bourbon).  How bittersweet it is.

I don't care that you miss my dog.  When you cheated on me, you cheated on him, too.

Wish I could've saved some of your freckles, somehow. 

I realize I can't fix you.  I'll leave that to your husband, since he's the biggest tool I know.

For the record: I hate you=I love you.  I said it a lot.  I still do.  Hate you.

I'm consoled by the fact that the two of you will have very hairy children.  

My Review: A while ago, Andy Selsberg started website called Dear Old Love where readers could anonymously submit the words they wish they could say to their former flames or unrequited loves, without disclosing identifying information. The response was so overwhelming, that it eventually became a book...and I read it.

I love the concept of this book: What would you like to say to an old love?  I can certainly think of a few things I'd like to say and a several more that are probably better left unsaid, but there is something tempting and decidedly cathartic about typing out words you've been holding in and setting them adrift in the ether.  Let's try it...

You were the biggest mistake I've ever made...and I hate that I still remember your birthday.

There.  Not strictly anonymous, but you get the idea.  And now you know a more about me than you'd probably like.  And I feel a little bit better.

Dear Old Love has an almost voyeuristic vibe, as it allows the reader to glimpse into the broken hearts and peruse the regretful ruminations of perfect strangers.  Here are a few examples of selections I feel I can share with any audience:

  • Nothing you can do would stop me from loving you.  My heart has given you tenure.  
  • The day you changed your Facebook status to "Engaged," I spent 40 minutes in the shower so my boyfriend wouldn't hear me crying.
  • I don't break easily, so you must be really strong.
  • The worst part is, I can't talk to you about what to do about you.
  • They say every seven years, all our cells are new.  There's some contentment knowing that the me who fell in love with you no longer exists.  
  • I don't blame you.  Well, I do, but maybe if I say it enough, I'll believe it.
  • If disaster strikes, I still plan on coming to save you.
  • Not that it makes any difference, but I saw your "ancestral" family lasagna recipe on the back of a Ronzoni box.
  • You are the reason I broke up with my last boyfriend, and the reason I'll break up with my next.
  • I know you thought it was funny when I said, "I love you," and you replied, "I love me, too."  But it wasn't.  

I easily identified with many of the more romantic, sentimental statements, and quite a few of the meaner ones (hey, I'm not perfect) but was disappointed at the preponderance of overtly sexual content.  I guess I shouldn't have been surprised that a lot of people took anonymity as an opportunity to make sexually-themed digs, but it did catch me off guard and spoiled the wistful feel of the book.  As such, though I thoroughly enjoyed the concept of the book, I would have a hard time recommending it to any of the more sensitive readers in my life.  For those who don't have near those sensitivities, I'd say it's an okay one-time read but probably something you could live without unless you're in the full throws of a break-up.  If you are, then get yourself some Alanis Morisette, a box of Kleenex, and this book.

My Rating:  2.75 Stars.

For the sensitive reader:  Some sexual content.  Not descriptive, really.  Just statements.


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