Friday, 18 April 2014

One Millions Lovely Letters by Jodi Ann Bickley **Review & Giveaway**

One Millions Lovely Letters
Series: None
Pages: 250
Publisher: Yellow Kite (Hodder)
Release date: 27th February 2014
Buy: Book Depository | Amazon UK | Amazon US | Waterstones

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Goodreads synopsis:
The heart-warming and inspirational true story of a stroke survivor who sends uplifting letters all around the world, providing her with a lifeline in her own darkest moments.

In the summer of 2011, aged only 22, Jodi Ann Bickley contracted a serious brain infection that would change her life forever. Jodi had been performing at Camp Bestival on the Isle of Wight. Returning with pockets full of glitter, and her favourite bands' songs still playing in her head, She thought the happy memories would last forever. A week later, writhing in pain on the doctor's surgery floor and unable to put the pain she was suffering into words, Jodi found out that she had been bitten by a tick and contracted a serious brain infection.

Learning to write and walk again was just the start of the battle. In the months that followed Jodi struggled with the ups and downs of her health and the impact it had on her loved ones. Some days the illness was too much for Jodi to bear and she found herself wondering whether she could go on. She had two choices: either to give up now or to do something meaningful with the time she had been given. Jodi chose the latter. This is the story how she turned her life around, and in doing so, touched the lives of millions.
I do not usually go for books like this; non-fiction, that is. And I don't think I've ever read a book that sits in the 'self help' section of a bookshop before, either. But when One Million Lovely Letters arrived in the bookshop where I work, I read the synopsis on the inside cover, I read about Jodi for the first time, and I had to know more. She sounded like such a wonderful person, and her project so uplifting, that I felt I needed the book in my life.
That was just over a month ago. I'd been telling myself that I was saving reading the book for when I needed a good pick-me-up, but then I started sorting through some of my books, and thought I'd read a couple of pages. Less then 20 hours later, I'd finished the entire thing (and that was with having to sleep, eat and go to work in-between.
To say I was instantly hooked would be an understatement.

I had wanted to read this book when I needed a pick-me-up, but when I started reading it I was fine – happy, in fact – and yet it still had a massive impact on me. In the 20 hours that it consumed my every waking thought, I have laughed and cried in equal measure, and the mood I've been in has been somewhat miraculous. I've found – especially recently – that I have a little less patience for the general public than I used to. I've found customers at work have become increasingly disrespectful and people out and about have been downright rude, and frankly, I've gotten to the point where I've just about had enough of it. But having been reading Jodi's book before I went to work, my instinct was to be kind, polite, chirpy and helpful on a super-level (super-level is a word now).
I felt better about myself too – almost learning to accept myself for who I am (was already kind of there), and what I look like (always had a problem with this one). And since I've read the book, I've started to listen to what the people I love say about me, rather than just dismissing it as them being nice.
And I've done my very best to compliment them as much as I possibly can too. Not that I don't usually tell them that I love them – because I do – but complimenting them on little things too. And it makes all the difference.

I can't remember where I read the article now, but there was a study done on happiness and what makes you happy, and it was found that paying someone you love a compliment, or telling them exactly why you love them, releases a chemical in the brain that also makes you feel happier. In this study they got a series of people to fill in a questionnaire about how happy they felt at that moment in time. Then they got them to phone a loved one and tell them exactly how they felt about them. After many tears and laughter, they filled in the questionnaire for a second time. The increase in their happiness levels was miraculous. It was beautiful.
So, having read this, I can only imagine what doing One Million Lovely Letters does for Jodi – it's an incredible thing to do, and I've no doubt she's made hundreds of people's days with her wonderful letters and kind thoughts, but I know from the book that she does indeed feel happier writing the letters – in fact, she considers that the project has saved her life. That's how much of a difference a little bit of kindness can make.

I am just in awe of Jodi, she's a beautiful, strong and incredibly kind human being, and her story will stay with me forever (as will her book – this one is definitely a keeper). If you've not already read this book, I wholeheartedly recommend that you grab yourself a copy and give it a read.
Even if you're sceptical, or you think that this type of book is not for you and you wouldn't enjoy it, I'm here to tell you that it's more than worth a try. I think you might surprise yourself.
This one gets full marks from me!

Right guys! I have something very special for you guys now.
Because this book has made such an impact on me, because it's beautiful, and because the whole point of the book is to be kind to people – even if you don't know them – I'm going to continue this by giving away one hardback copy of One Million Lovely Letters.
This will be an international giveaway – I want no one to be left out, no matter where you are in the world (Jodi sends her letters everywhere, so I think her book can go anywhere too!).

There are just a couple of rules that need to be laid down before we start:

  • You don't have to be a follower to enter this giveaway, but there is an extra entry that requires you to follow, so if you go for this extra, you will need to make sure that you're a follower, but it is optional to enter this way. 
  • The giveaway is international. I will be sending the winner's prize out via The Book Depository, so if they deliver to you, you can enter! (Find the list of countries here
  • If you decide to enter any of the extra entries, you need to make sure that you fulfil each task before entering. 
  • I've used Rafflecopter to keep email addresses and other contact details safe, so please use it, and don't leave your email address etc in the comments. 
  • The giveaway will end on 9th May 2014.
Right! There's nothing left to do now but think positive thoughts and get yourself entered! Good luck to everyone!


So many books, so little time said...

Lovely wee comp Dani, can't believe I wasn't following you on twitter already. Good luck everyone


erin said...

this looks and sounds awesome! Thanks for sharing :)

Anne said...

I've heard so many things about this book, it sounds wonderful. Thanks Dani x

Anne said...

Forgot to tell you a lovely thing ...... my husband: Martin. Lovely in every way possible xx

Lisa Briggs-Hardy said...

I'm not usually a non fiction reader either, but this sounds intriguing. Thanks for sharing your review

Lisa Briggs-Hardy said...

I forgot to say my positive/lovely thought..... My Husband inspires me every day. He is kind and thoughtful and very understanding with me as I have had to care for my ill Father this week. He truly is lovely.

Mary Preston said...

This book sounds quite extraordinary. I do read non-fiction & enjoy it.

I have good, kind neighbours. That can be quite rare.

Elizabeth Briggs said...

Would love to regain some faith in human kindness :)

Barbara Handley said...

I have just moved into sheltered housing and was rather nervous but my new friend Chris has made me very welcome.

Tracy K Nixon said...

I love non-fiction and still love to write letters! I keep in touch with the breeder we got our chihuahua puppy from. She is old and not very computer literate we keep in touch via pen and paper. I find it is so much more personal that writing emails - and I love buying pretty note paper with matching envelopes to write to her on!


it would make a difference to me as i'd have a good excuse to lie in bed, lock the door n just laze and read for a while

Aleks Francine said...

I would really like to read this book to see what change this will give to my life!

cassady said...

I wold like to read it, sounds interesting

clair downham said...

this souds fab would be nice to read about people who are not just out for themselves

Ellen Stafford said...

Sounds like a great read. I met my fiance Neil through Phillip Schofield (british tv presenter) on twitter. Love him so much x

Marlene Detierro said...

This is such a beautiful persons story of how she has taken a tragedy and turned it around to share her love of life to brighten someone else's life, one letter at a time.

7.3 Injectors

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