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Sincerely: reviewed (a book in which the famous write letters. Often to non-existent things. Meta!)

Title: Sincerely: Further Adventures in the Art of Correspondence from Women of Letters
Compiled by: Marieke Hardy and Michaela McGuire
Published: 2012
Genre: Literary essays
Plot summary: Some of Australia’s finest minds, funniest wits and biggest nutbags put pen to paper and write letters. Like your Granny used to.
Rating: 4 out of 5 feather tipped quills

Dear Sincerely,

You began life as a literary stage show, with well known literati ladies reading aloud, but following your phenomenal success, you’re now trying your hand at being a book. A book ‘to revive the gentle art of correspondence’, where your contributors are predominantly big name Australians, such as Libbi Gorr, Patience Hodgson, Lindsay McDougall, George Negus, Hamish Blake, Di Morrissey, Angie Hart, Helen Garner and Ita Buttrose.

Not sure why the silhouette woman on the cover is finger levitating a slug, though

Not sure why the silhouette woman on the cover is finger levitating a slug, though. Still: sexy

Like all good letters, those on your pages have been written with a purpose, be that a letter of complaint, a letter to a person who has been misjudged, or a letter of apology. For the first time, men have been included and you asked them to write letters to the women who changed their lives. They didn’t write to their mummies as much as you might expect; instead they wrote letters to music teachers, stepmothers and the mysterious JB (obviously she knows who she is).

My least favourite section was ‘To the song I wish I had written’ because without the song playing in the background, it was difficult for a musical dud like me to contextualise. ‘Umbrella’ anyone? ‘Gangnam Style’? You really needed to come with a little voice chip, like one of those singing birthday cards.

The recipients of your letters are as varied as those who penned them, with correspondence to Mary McKillop, Pauline Hanson, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the Statue of Liberty, the alphabet, even someone’s unfertilised ovum.

Although there is a lot of swearing, sex and fingers up bottoms in your pages, there are also letters of gentle prose and tender subjects, such as the love letter written by Jacqui Payne to her children, all six of them, and Ita Buttrose’s letter to the life she might have lived as an opera singer.

No offence, but your very nature makes you a perfect book for the train, the toilet or for lunch breaks when trying to avoid conversation with the creepy guy from accounting. Short, sharp reads, your pages are full of things to make me wince, laugh and once or twice, even shed a tear.

Yours Sincerely (no pun intended)

Shannon

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