Dear Juliet – Letters from the Lovestruck and Lovelorn to Shakespeare’s Juliet in Verona REVIEW

By The Juliet Club and Giulio Tamassia.

dear juliet
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Now that we are floating within spaces of technology, with our fingers always hovering over a phone or computer keyboard, letter writing is slowly becoming a lost art. When was the last time you wrote a proper letter, to a subject of affection, or a friend who was abroad? It is much quicker to text now, or Skype, or even call someone since overseas calls can be done through apps like Facebook and WhatsApp – say goodbye to expensive overseas calls burning holes in one’s pocket.

The last time I penned a letter I was 13 years old, maintaining the tradition of birthday letters me and my best guy friend would send each other every year. But as things often are, time passes, and these habits are given up for modern conveniences. This is why Dear Juliet is such a beautiful read. Each letter written to Juliet contains a love story, be it of heartbreak or yearning, with each person putting pen to paper to communicate their emotions to this fictional character.

It is easy to scorn Juliet, for being young and in love, especially when we view her story through cynical, adult eyes. The truth is, it is not an easy thing to put yourself out there and seek love; it is equally difficult to embrace it when it shows up. Some of these stories are really the stuff of those romance novels you read and think never occur in real life, but this is proof that they do.

It was nice to read these tales and submerge myself in the folds of these pages, dreaming with someone else as they lay bare their hearts and desires. Sometimes, there is a response to the letter from one of the secretaries who writes on behalf of Juliet. The replies give a nice closure to these stories. This is not the case for all of these letters though.

Some of them never get a reply, and as much as you flip the pages back and forth, you will never know how the story ends. It is as if their grief becomes your grief while you read their letter, and you hope ardently that time brought them the peace and love they so desired. This book is a wonderful reminder of the universal shared experience of love, that we all possess these similar inclinations towards love, even if we hide behind a jaded air of being so over it.

While the letters that were photocopied allowed a more personal touch, immersion was harder since I had to decipher the handwriting, so I vastly preferred the typed out pieces. Some letters are fairly short, mainly couples beginning their journey together and wishing to receive Juliet’s blessings. These pieces act as a nice reprieve from the emotionally tumultuous ones, allowing the reader to breathe a little before plunging into the next emotionally stirring letter. Through these letters, Juliet is almost akin to a deity, and it is amazing to see a fictional character inspire such words and sharings.

Reading this compilation reminded me of how cathartic letter writing can be. You share a slice of yourself, and in the process of writing, it takes away a little of the hurt and sorrow you felt. Afterwards, you breathe a little easier, and the emotions aren’t as jagged and cutting as before. There is much power in a well-written letter, and this collection reminded me of that. It has inspired me to pen my own letter to Juliet, with the hope that she receives it as she walks along the skyline of literary stars.

Review copy provided.

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Verdict
Dear Juliet is a beautiful read, and a wonderful reminder of how cathartic letter writing (and reading) can be.
8.5

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