So if I can recommend one anthology for this month, it’s Dear Heartbreak. If you ever read a Chicken Soup for the Soul, like I did, then this is the updated version which is so better. It has more authors we know and love. And it has real letters from teens!
This is a book about the dark side of love: the way it kicks your ass, tears out your heart, and then forces you to eat it, bite by bloody bite. If you’ve felt this way, you’re not alone…
In this powerful collection, YA authors answer real letters from teens all over the world about the dark side of love: dating violence, break-ups, cheating, betrayals, and loneliness. This book contains a no-holds-barred, raw outpouring of the wisdom these authors have culled from mining their own hearts for the fiction they write. Their responses are autobiographical, unflinching, and filled with love and hope for the anonymous teen letter writers.
I adore the concept and introduction in Dear Heartbreak. Talk about an ingenious idea. How I’d like to write multiple letters to Heartbreak. And the teens in here do just that. And the authors answer. They answer with brutal honesty, with love, and with care. Both the letters and the responses are genuine, raw, and emotional. They bleed, they cry, they rage.
I was so into the Chicken Soup for the Soul books when I was a teen. I devoured them, almost whole. While not many letters spoke to me, it was comforting knowing that the idea of writing a letter and receiving a response. There was something about the honesty and the anonymity that drew me. I wished I wrote my own letter.
So Dear Heartbreak was the answer to my queries. And even better, the teens write directly to Heartbreak. They can yell and scream and cry and plead. This is so much better, in my opinion, because there’s nothing like writing directly to that which is hurting you.
It made me cry and there were so many good heartfelt quotes within. These teens are grappling with these universal feelings of deep longing, loneliness and isolation. It is told with raw honesty that only comes from trust and love. They are struggling with self worth, with walking away, with giving too many chances, with sacrifices.
All which I struggled so hard with. I struggled with finding the courage to leave a toxic partner that I gave everything to, just because I was afraid I’d never be loved again. I thought this was how all relationships were. And I was left hollowed out.
Each of these letters give us mini lessons about the love, and life, you should accept. We are taught to think of ourselves as half people. To think of a couple as a whole, that a person can complete us, who can cure us of our loneliness.
The more I grow up, the more I think that’s a whole lot of BS. We are complete. We are whole, and we shouldn’t rely on anyone to give us a part of ourselves. Some of these letters are like fragments of myself, pieces of my own heartbreak exposed to the light of day, faded but still legible.