Over the weekend, I received a copy of a lovely book, Dear Friend by Gina L. Mulligan. She did not write all the content in the book, rather she compiled letters of encouragement, humor and love written by others to be shared with women dealing with breast cancer. I follow Gina and Girls Love Mail on Twitter, and that is how I was able to get an early copy of the book which will release in October.
Girls Love Mail is an organization that gathers hand-written letters and sends them to women newly diagnosed with cancer. Many of the letters are written by women who have dealt with, or are dealing with, cancer, but some are not. As the information on the site says, anyone can write a letter. All it takes is a few minutes of your time and the cost of a postage stamp. This is all done the old-fashioned way with pen and paper and the postal service.
This concept, and the book, appealed to me on several levels. First because of the hand-written letters. We see so few of those today, as most of us rely on e-mail and texts, or other messaging to keep in touch, but I used to love the hand-written letters my mother and I exchanged. In fact, I have kept many of them and recently put them into a small binder to keep.
The other reason the book appealed to me was the “heart” that is so apparent as you start to read the letters. Making heart-to-heart connections is so uplifting and emotionally healing, and people facing the uphill battle with cancer, or any other terrible disease, need that connection. Kudos to Ms. Mulligan for providing the means for that to happen.
Dear Friend is a beautiful book, in content and in design. It has an embossed cover, metallic endpapers and a ribbon marker, reminding me of the collectible books that I would see in specialty bookstores of my youth. Those were the kinds of books one would open and touch the paper in awe of the fine linen-like texture, the artistic layout of each page, and the beautiful printing.
The minute I opened the package and Dear Friend slipped out, I knew it was a book to treasure.
But the artistic production is only a sliver of the appeal of this book. The letters inside are filled with warmth and humor, some complete with little hearts and smiley faces, and offer hope and encouragement to everyone who opens the book.