—Esquire, Chuck Klosterman
“Bill Shapiro (Time Inc.'s development editor) collects extremely private correspondence, which he has amassed in Other People's Love Letters. The notes, e-mails, telegrams, and letters appear as copies of the originals, in all their faded, tearstained glory. The earliest examples come off as gorgeous and romantic, whether they're pages of elegant script or a few words scrawled on a cocktail napkin. E-mail seems to have had a decidedly negative effect on the art, if ''Am having terribly naughty thoughts again today, and I was wondering if you might want to hear about them'' is any indication. After compulsively flipping through to the last page, I have just one question: How did Shapiro get people to part with these?”
“From the moment Bill Shapiro stumbled upon an old love letter that wasn’t his (it was an ode to his then girlfriend from some earlier man), he was hooked. His new book, Other People’s Love Letters, reprints 150 of the many hundreds he’s collected over the years. Strictly speaking, they’re not all declarations of love. Some are Dear Johns; others are postmortems of failed relationships. And not all of them are letters, in the stationary-and-envelope sense. They’re scrawled across postcards, crammed onto Post-its, scribbled on cocktail napkins and matchbooks. Some are old (Peter J. Dougherty, chief of police, to ‘dearest Lizzie,’ dated December 22, 1911); some are new (e-mails, text messages, more e-mails). Should going through them strike you as voyeuristic, beware. They’re addictive.”
• "i think UR great. wanna have wine & Tequila again sometime?"
• "I can't believe you're real, and I think about you constantly in some way or the other all day. I haven't given the finger to anyone driving since I met you."
• "With you I learned how to fight cleaner, how to talk things out better, and how to make a strong loving family out of nothing. These are priceless gifts that I will carry with me the rest of my life. One more thing you did for me: you left, and I had to get through it."
• "P.S. I look forward to your letters too much to call. Also, where do you stand on chains?"
From the Hardcover edition.