Book Review: Dear Stranger: Letters on the Subject of Happiness by Various for Mind

Dear Stranger Letters on the subject of happinessTitle: Dear Stranger: Letters on the Subject of Happiness
Author: Various
Genre: Mental Health / Non-Fiction
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: 2 July 2015
Format: eBook / Hardcover
Pages: 202
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US

Book Blurb:
‘Dear Stranger is an inspiration’ Stylist

Dear Stranger is a collection of inspirational, honest and heartfelt letters from authors, bloggers and Mind ambassadors to an imagined stranger. Insightful and uplifting, Dear Stranger is a humbling glimpse into different interpretations of happiness, and how despite sometimes seeming unobtainable happiness can, in the smallest of ways, become and achievable goal.

No one should face a mental health problem alone. Whether it’s on a doorstep, on the end of a telephone or online, Mind is there for everyone who is experiencing a mental health problem.

All profits from the sale of this book (at least £3 for every copy sold) will be donated to Mind, a registered charity number 219830.

My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

My Review:
When I saw that Penguin were releasing a book to raise money for Mind I knew I would be buying it. When I found out that a fellow blogger who has become a friend over the past few months, and who worked with me to set up Mental Health Voices was a contributor to the book I pre-ordered the book straight away!

The subject of this book is happiness, the perfect subject for a book raising money for a mental health charity. The reason I say this is because in my experience, even those who don’t have experience of mental illness in any form, know what it is to strive for happiness. They still have days where they feel sad, where they feel as though the world is against them. In reality this book is aimed at anybody in any walk of life.

I was over the moon when the book arrive, with a matted hardcover and a welcoming introduction from Penguin prior to the Contents, then a more formal one from Mind before the letters and stories begin.

Penguin have brought together a wonderful list of people, from business-people, broadcasters, authors, to less well known bloggers with lived experience of mental illness.

The letters and stories are printed in different fonts, reflecting what is written and the personality which is emanating from the page.

Some of these stories made me laugh, others made me cry, some reminded me of myself, others of members of my family or friends. They were beautifully written and some of them very revealing about their writers.

This book should be an addition to every bookshelf, it is the kind of book which can add some inspiration to everyone’s day whatever they are feeling. It’s full of hope, success, and beauty in unexpected places.

About The Contributors:
Here is the full list of Contributors:

  • Fiona Phillips
  • Martha Roberts
  • Francesca Martinez
  • Rachel Joyce
  • Donal Ryan
  • Matt Haig
  • Philippa Rice
  • Naomi Alderman
  • Yuval Noah Harari
  • Ilona Burton
  • Rowan Coleman
  • Ellen White
  • Abbie Ross
  • Giles Andreae
  • Conn Iggulden
  • Seaneen Molloy-Vaughan
  • Genevieve Taylor
  • Thomas Harding
  • Jez Alborough
  • Caitlin Moran
  • Blake Morrison
  • Nicci French
  • Jo Elworthy
  • John Lewis-Stempel
  • Chris Riddell
  • Tessa Watt
  • Helen Dunmore
  • Alain de Botton
  • Deborah Levy
  • Kevin Bridges
  • Marian Keyes
  • Nicholas Allan
  • Nick Harkaway
  • Edward Stourton
  • Eoin Colfer
  • Shirley Hughes
  • Santham Sanghera
  • Alexandra Fuller
  • Daniel Levitin
  • Claire Greaves
  • Arianna Huffington
  • Richard Branson
  • Molly Pearce
  • Nicholas Pinnock
  • Tim Smit
  • Tony Parsons
  • Dave Chawner
  • @Sectioned__
  • Professor Lord Richard Layard

Additional Contributions:
The profits from each book sold, at least £3 will go to Mind. If you buy the book using my links above, I will also donate any affiliate earnings I receive for this book to Mind.


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I'm BrizzleLass, I have Bipolar and have been dealing with mental illness in one form or another since childhood, I was first diagnosed with depression at nine. It's not easy speaking out about my experiences, some of them are extremely painful, but if I can help even one person then I have succeeded in sharing my story. This is where I talk about my mental health among other things that interest me. I enjoy walking, PlayStation, reading, heavy metal, and spending time with my Niece.

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