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Excerpt of JK Rowling's Foreword for "Dear Me: A Letter to My Sixteen-Year-Old Self"

J.K. Rowling
Posted by: Stephanie_J
October 19, 2011, 10:35 PM

An excerpt of author JK Rowling's foreword to the upcoming book "Dear Me: A Letter to My Sixteen-Year-Old Self" by Joseph Galliano has been published in USA Today.

In addition to the foreword, Ms. Rowling has also contributed a letter of her own along to her past self along with other notable actors, musicians, writers and athletes. Read the foreword below:

This is an extraordinary little book, based on a simple but wonderful idea: What would you say to yourself if you came face-to-face with the sixteen-year-old you? One of the many things that delighted and touched me as I read the letters that follow is the commonality of our human experience. Nearly everyone who wrote, whether their letter is jolly or poignant, seems to have looked back on their younger selves with compassion, remembering how vulnerable and dangerous an age sixteen is, for all the fun and freedom it is supposed to entail.

The overwhelming message of this body of letters seems to be: Be yourself. Be easier on yourself. Become yourself, as fully as possible.

Attempting to isolate those life lessons I could pass back to the girl I used to be was a truly illuminating exercise. It made me look at my seventeen-year-old daughter and remember, in a more powerful way than ever before, just how raw and vivid life is for her, in a way that it has been only intermittently for me as an adult. I would not go back to sixteen for anything you could give me, and yet I still recognize that she has something I have lost along the way—something I had to lose, to stay sane.

You might have picked up this book out of interest in some of the fascinating people who have contributed. I don't think you will be disappointed. The great thing about these letters is that they are extraordinarily revealing, whether short, long, full of practical advice or metaphysical musings.

Whatever your motives in buying this book, thank you. One dollar a copy will benefit Doctors Without Borders.

Finally, let me urge you to use the blank pages at the end of the book to write your own letter to yourself, aged sixteen. I think you'll find it just as thought-provoking and worthwhile as we all did.
"Dear Me: A Letter to My Sixteen-Year-Old Self" will be released on Oct. 25, 2011.

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748 Points

“Be easier on yourself. Become yourself, as fully as possible.”

Appreciation to JK Rowling, another great lesson for all of us.

Posted by Gene *ROAR* on October 20, 2011, 02:58 AM report to moderator
5439 Points

That is a great lesson for all of us!

Posted by Fleur-de- Lily on October 20, 2011, 05:24 AM report to moderator
673 Points

I agree with Gene ROAR 100%

Posted by mencia on October 20, 2011, 08:04 AM report to moderator
452 Points

Well, that’s another book I’m asking for this Christmas!

Posted by Mad But Happy on October 20, 2011, 08:34 AM report to moderator
4138 Points

@Fleur-de- Lily okay you said you would stop copying and pasting people’s comments, which you have done but now you’re taking parts of their comments, which is just as annoying. Please stop because it’s a little silly tbh.

Posted by Calum Wilson (RuneDream54) on October 20, 2011, 08:46 AM report to moderator
4138 Points

Anyway I probably won’t be getting this book (not just because I’m not even sixteen yet :D) but I’d probably only be interested in the foreword, which I’ve just read here :D

Posted by Calum Wilson (RuneDream54) on October 20, 2011, 08:47 AM report to moderator
3269 Points

I’m buying that book.

Posted by Acciobrooms on October 20, 2011, 10:05 AM report to moderator
80450 Points

I would say "Don’t worry, it all works out. You are stronger than you know. Always trust your instincts & your inner voice… & never build walls around your heart.

Posted by Won_Two on October 20, 2011, 11:07 AM report to moderator
6352 Points

I love the idea of this book! JKR’s foreword is very moving. I agree with her about going back to sixteen – NO WAY. GB Shaw’s quote “youth is wasted on the young” is so true. Why couldn’t I have known what I know now when I was 16? Ah, life!

Posted by KB Prez [ROAR!] on October 20, 2011, 01:16 PM report to moderator
3750 Points

@Won_Two – I really like what you wrote!

It is so hard at that age, now that I look back to those years and realize the things that I thought were so important, really didn’t matter at all. I wish I had enjoyed the years of “no worries” more and not been so eager to grow up!

Posted by Want to be a Weasley on October 20, 2011, 02:49 PM report to moderator
558 Points

gonna get this

Posted by harrypotter4258 on October 20, 2011, 03:13 PM report to moderator
10471 Points

Interesting! I would love to have that! It’ll probably come in handy when I’m sixteen! xDD

Posted by . on October 20, 2011, 07:49 PM report to moderator
444 Points

I really like what she had to say and I will definitely buy the book. I also agree with her that I wouldn’t go back to being 16 for anything in the world. And yet, I’m not entirely unhappy with the person I was at 16, and there have been times in my life that I wished I had kept a little more of my 16 year old self as part of my adult self.

Posted by Eeyore on October 21, 2011, 12:01 AM report to moderator
1040 Points

Lovely and enlightening as always. And I agree, I would never go back to 16, even though I enjoyed it at the time (mostly.) Things that came after were far too hard to want to repeat those years.

I would tell the 16-year-old-me: value yourself more and don’t let other people’s thoughts, opinions, styles, prejudices or desires shape you or your life, not to settle, to be true to the real you (once you figure the real you out), and to be nicer to yourself, because you’re not really so awful.

Posted by Headmistress LemonFaerie on October 21, 2011, 03:47 AM report to moderator
317 Points

@Won_Two I totally agree – especially with the last sentence … it is so important to keep one’s heart open … otherwise life passes you by all too quickly … look at what Snape did to himself … he stands as a kind of warning against burying myself inside myself.

Posted by siena on October 21, 2011, 09:12 AM report to moderator
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