Captivating . . . I laughed and I cried as I followed the pleasures of real mail, and the lesson hit home: Whether written or spoken, our words matter. They have the power to illuminate someone’s darkest day
Laurie Buchanan PhD, Author
When Amy Daughters reconnected with her old pal Dana on Facebook, she had no idea how it would change her life. Though the two women hadn’t had any contact in thirty years, it didn’t take them long to catch up—and when Amy learned that Dana’s son Parker was doing a second stint at St. Jude battling cancer, she was suddenly inspired to begin writing the pair weekly letters.
When Parker died, Amy—not knowing what else to do—continued to write Dana. Eventually, Dana wrote back, and the two became pen pals, sharing things through the mail that they had never shared before. The richness of the experience left Amy wondering something: If my life could be so changed by someone I considered “just a Facebook friend,” what would happen if I wrote all my Facebook friends a letter?
A whopping 580 handwritten letters later Amy’s life, and most of all her heart, would never, ever, be the same again. As it turned out, there were actual individuals living very real lives behind each social media profile, and she was beautifully connected to each of those extraordinary, flawed people for a specific reason. They loved her, and she loved them. And nothing—not politics, beliefs, or lifestyle—could separate them.
2023 GOLD WINNER for MEMOIR IN ESSAYS
2023 OVERALL WINNER for SOCIAL MEDIA
2022 BRONZE WINNER for WORLD PEACE
Hilarious and poignant, Daughters' journey through the last 40 years reveals both powerful self-awarness and meaningful discoveries about memories, reality, and what matters in life.
2020 OVERALL WINNER for HUMOR and COMEDY
2019 SILVER WINNER for HUMOR
2019 SILVER MEDAL for POPULAR FICTION
You Cannot Mess This Up
It's 2014 and Amy Daughters is a forty-six-year old stay-at-home mom living in Dayton, Ohio. She returns to her hometown of Houston over the Thanksgiving holiday to discuss her parents’ estate—and finds herself hurled back in time. Suddenly, it’s 1978, and she is forced to spend thirty-six hours in her childhood home with her nuclear family, including her ten-year old self.
Over the next day and a half she reconsiders every feeling she’s ever had, discusses current events with dead people, gets overserved at a party with her parents’ friends, and is treated to lunch at the Bonanza Sirloin Pit. Besides noticing that everyone is smoking cigarettes, she’s still jealous of her sister, and there is a serious lack of tampons in the house, Amy also begins to appreciate that memories are malleable, wholly dependent on who is doing the remembering. In viewing her parents as peers and her siblings as detached children, she redefines her difficult relationships with her family members and, ultimately, realizes that her life story matters and is profoundly significant—not so much to everyone else, perhaps, but certainly to her.
Amy’s guide said her trip back in time wouldn’t change anything in the future, but by the time her thirty-six hours are up, she’s convinced that she’ll never be the same again.