In this collection of love letters, Will Darbyshire provides a safe environment for people to share their thoughts on modern relationships. Some people sent in letters, pictures, poetry… This Modern Love collects these letters together to form a compendium of 21st century love, structured into the beginning, middle and end of a relationship.
“Some of the letters are bitter, some of them are raw. Some of them are thankful, and some of them might make you laugh. But they have all made me think about some of our most fundamental needs and desires. And I hope they will do the same for you.”
Since this book was divided into three parts, I decided to share my favorite letters from each part:
This part focuses on the beginning of a relationship. “It lays the foundations for everything to come. And despite being daunting, frankly terrifying territory, it’s surprisingly a time we look back on fondly.”
Although we are good friends, I don’t know how to tell you that I have had the biggest crush on you since the first day I saw you in my English class.
I mean, how do I tell you that I like you when I haven’t even told anyone that I’m gay.
We talk so much and you probably think of it as a normal conversation but to me… It’s more. It’s an escape from the reality. The reality of a guy who lays in bed wishing that he was in an alternate universe, one in which both him and you would fall in love with each other.
I guess that’s just wishful thinking. I can accept that we will only be friends but I just wanted you to know that you’re beautiful and I love you.
This was the very first letter and it was already breaking my heart.
“Dear —— ,
You are like that one piece of artwork in an art gallery that people spend a little longer admiring.
You’re so beautiful. Your smile, your eyes, your lips, your hands, everything. Did you know that you play in my mind like one of my favourite song lyrics, you sting my heart like after eating a bowl of hot soup. You know me but I don’t think you see me, I see you for one, I see you like no other, I see you so often your image never leaves the remains of my brain. I wish you see me, I wish you remembered me. I wish that you could see me the way I see you. I see you for you and that is the you that I love, but please can you see me too.
I really loved the specificity in this letter.
The middle part of this book focuses on people celebrating their relationship.
Thank you for making me see the stars when I only saw the darkness.
“It’s funny how technology was the reason my relationship started, but was also the reason why it ended.
This part pays tribute to the end of relationships. And it was consequently my favorite part.
“The morbid reality of relationships is that they really only have two outcomes. It either works out or it doesn’t.”“dear jake,
you ruined so many songs for me.
New Mexico, USA”
This line… this line perfectly summed up a feeling that is all too familiar. “Dear A,
I am 99% sure you have my childhood Pokemon card collection. When we parted ways you placed my possessions in a bag and left the bag outside my house. The Pokemon cards weren’t included.
Sorry I drunkenly messaged you asking if you had stolen my Pokemon cards. Sorry that was the first thing I said to you after saying nothing for three years. Thanks for a great time, I mean it.
I hope you are OK.
You once told me that in the space of two years every cell in your body regenerates.
There will come a day when I can reclaim my own skin, when my flesh will have never been touched by you.
Would you kindly keep your topless snapchat selfies to yourself. No they do not make me want you. And no I do not understand ‘dem bedtime feels’.
Also a word of advice if you ever hope to attract a girl; try less pout and more personality.
Peace (no love),
Sadness always licked at the feet of our love but we still never chose to wear shoes.
I found myself a pair of boots now, I hope you’ve found some too.
I lied, you never made me orgasm.
Thank you for being the guy to help me realize I’m utterly and completely a lesbian.
New York, USA”
This and the above one (from Megan) are my absolute favorites!!
“Dear guy who I used to know,
I wish you never took me to the movies in my favorite cinema. I wish you never took me to my favorite restaurant. I wish you never spent christmas with me. I wish you never took me to Amsterdam. I wish you never kissed and hugged me in my room. I wish you never told me that you loved me at my favorite spot in my hometown. I wish you never gave me my favorite book for my birthday.
You’re gone now, but all my favorite places and things still remind me of you. They aren’t my favorite places and things anymore.
Although quite a few of the letters were exquisitely exquisite, the majority of this book I found to be a pretty average read. Only the ones above managed to make me react both physically and emotionally to the text, which, considering there are over 220 pages, left me feeling quite disappointed.
But I did absolutely love the photography captured throughout:
Also, listening to this next song really got me into the collection: