Dear Me: A Letter to My Sixteen-Year-Old Self book review
Dear Me… is a brilliantly simple idea, executed with finesse
Time Out Bahrain staff
Edited by Joseph Galliano
5/5 Simon & Schuster Dear Me… is a brilliantly simple idea, executed with finesse. It takes a bunch of famous people (across the spectrum from Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Sir Ranulph Fiennes to Alan Carr and Paul O’Grady) and asks each of them to pen a letter to themselves at age 16. The resulting letters – there are 64 of them – are full of pathos, advice and reassurance that although life may seem a little confusing/scary/spotty at the moment, everything will turn out fine in the end.
Cynics may point out that of course everything turns out fine seeing as the people in the book all end up being rich and famous, but the most notable aspect of most contributors’ advice is that it is completely unrelated to fame and fortune. ‘When he says he doesn’t love you,’ writes Emma Thompson, ‘believe him. He doesn’t.’ It’s typical of the honesty that makes this book so revealing. Who can resist Patsy Kensit’s painfully honest 42-word letter? ‘You adore music more than anything, you have a great passion for rock ’n’ roll… but that doesn’t mean you have to marry the lead singer of every band you ever had a poster of on your bedroom wall.’
With profits going to the Elton John Aids Foundation – and featuring a foreword from the man himself – this has altruism as well as grit to recommend it, and there’s even a thread of humour, as Peter Kay’s letter proves: ‘Dear Peter (age 16). Few tips for you: Avoid stonewashed denim, Carol Farrell (as she’ll break your heart… twice) and Twin Peaks, as the ending is s***. Lots of love, Peter (age 36). PS: The winner of the 1992 Grand National is Party Politics.’ Mark Frith