Saturday, July 16, 2011

Review: Other People's Rejection Letters

Other People's Rejection Letters: 150 Letters You're Happy You Didn't GetOther People's Rejection Letters: 150 Letters You're Happy You Didn't Get by Bill Shapiro

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is like magic for anyone who is looking for a job, trying to get published, dating, or trying to take his/her life to the next level. Yes, many of the notes are silly, but even the silliest ones are brilliant in their own way. How can you top something like this:

"I can't believe how hot you can be at night and frigid in the morning. . . I won't be one of your ridiculous lays." Really, I write good letters, but to the anonymous author of that gem, I bow to your greatness.

I never would have expected such a comprehensive compilation of rejection in all its glorious forms to appear in the humor section, but I bow to Bill Shapiro's brilliance. Other People's Rejection Letters: 150 Letters You're Happy You Didn't Get has it all. Mr. Shapiro includes plenty of juicy romantic rejections by phone (screen shots included in all their glory), email, Facebook, and snail mail. Form rejections from various literary agencies complete with checkboxes and blanks for the author's name. Silly me for being upset that some agents go for Dear Author and never include a reason. What is this? High school? If you like this manuscript, check this box. You will also find some relics from greats in entertainment, politics and letters. (Be sure to check out F. Scott Fitzgerald's scathing letter/pity party to his daughter "Scottie." I always sensed that guy was a douche. Now I have proof!)

With so many wonderful rejections to choose from, it's hard to choose a favorite, but given the subject matter of this book, I feel obligated to pass further judgement on the contents. If pressed, I think my favorite rejection is the letter from Dave Turner, Major U.S. Marine Corps to Bill Dobrow, expressing the Corps' appreciation of Mr. Dobrow's interest, but turning him down because he was only twelve years old at the time.

My absolute favorite letter in the collection isn't a rejection at all, but a note from Lizzie Larock, owner of Old Town Pub & Restaurant in Steamboat Springs, CO saying that she doesn't have any rejections to contribute. Ms. Larock gets props from me because instead of claiming she doesn't have rejections to share because she's just that good, she says, "It'd be so interesting to see who has the most rejection letters and to see how successful that person is. I would be willing to bet that those people who put themselves out there the most (and subsequently get rejected a lot) are the ones who have achieved the most career success." Ms. Larock, I only hope you're right because I am doing my best to reach that top spot. I'm just not 100% sure I want to.

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