Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Review -- Other People's Rejection Letters

Other People's Rejection Letters: Relationship Enders, Career Killers, and 150 Other Letters You'll Be Glad You Didn't Receive compiled by Bill Shapiro

This was an interesting book, to say the least.  It was also a quick book.  I read the entire thing nearly cover to cover in about 90 minutes.  I have to admit that in a couple places I skimmed.  It's also a sad book, but you might expect that from a book of rejection.

It was interesting to see how gracefully some companies let people down, how others used humor and how some would have just been downright disappointing to receive.

It was also interesting to see common themes - women who entered relationships too soon after a break-up and then realized they needed to slow things down - men who had problems with their mom or dad - people who had been done wrong and were in the process of divorcing.

I mention that it's sad - even though these are rejections, I kind of expected to be slightly more amused.  I don't know if that was a bad expectation on my part, or speaks to a sadistic streak on my part.  But, no, these were human beings being turned down and there wasn't a lot of humor to that.

Sprinkled throughout are rejection letters to a single artist who then added his own drawings to the rejection letters.  I didn't quite understand that was the theme there.  And then near the end there's a request for clemency from someone who killed two people followed immediately by a letter of confirmation that the person had been executed.  It was interesting from the perspective of being really old, but it was really sad from the perspective of someone asking for their life to be spared after they killed two other people and then seeing not exactly a rejection letter but a confirmation that their request had been rejected.  Maybe even moreso because children got left behind with no parents and that's always sad for me.

The final pages of the book give follow-up to some of the previous rejection letters and here, things pick up a little bit, take a happier turn if you will.  There's the story of someone who followed-up on a rejection letter and ended up being accepted afterall, the story of someone who was rejected multiple times and went on to prove themselves in the field anyhow, stuff like that.

This is a good book to get from the library because you will read it quickly.  Or, if you are the type of person who likes to buy books, this would be a good one to read and then pass on, or to leave at the "take a book, leave a book" section of an independent coffee shop when you're done with it.
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