It is easy sometimes to focus on the things that are happening just to us. With the growing prevalence of different forms of social media, people begin to present only the good things that happen in their lives while sweeping the bad out of the way. This results in the feeling that bad things only ever happen to us and everyone else is living a golden life. Sometimes we just need a reminder that we are not alone in experiencing rejection and for me, Other People’s Rejection Letters edited by Bill Shapiro, helped me remember that bad things also happen to other people.
In this book, Shapiro looked for rejection letters from family, friends, and even sent a request out to reporters to help him dig up some letters from across the country. Identifying information in some of the letters have been changed to protect the person they are about, but the essence of the letters still remains. Shapiro has chosen to present these letters in their original formats, as emails, handwritten words, text messages, and others. The subject matter careens around from break-up messages, book rejection letters, hurt letters to or from parents, job rejection notices, and even art gallery rejections. Shapiro includes rejection letters from everyone ranging from the famous to the not-so-famous. If a certain letter catches your eye, check out the Postscript section at the end of the book where Shapiro delves into the story behind some of the letters and what has happened to the recipients and senders since.
While a collection of rejection letters might seem depressing, this book serves as a reminder that we truly cannot succeed unless we push ourselves out into the world with the knowledge that we must get rejected in order to find our place. After all, it’s just like Marilyn Monroe said, “Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.”