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This Modern Love Cover Image

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Goodreads rating: 4.28

Hardcover, Published in Aug 2016 by Century

ISBN10: 1780895720 | ISBN13: 9781780895727

Page count: 224

This Modern Love is a unique crowdsourced book of letters, stories, and photographs about the state of modern romance by YouTuber Will Darbyshire.

‘Question 1. What would you say to your ex, without judgement?’

Seeking closure after a tough break-up, Will Darbyshire was driven to strike up an intimate conversation with his online audience. Posting a series of questions via his YouTube, Twitter and Instagram channels, Will asked his followers to share their innermost thoughts about their relationship experiences, in the form of hand-written letters, poems, photographs, and emails.

After 6 months and over 15,000 heartfelt submissions later, from over 100 countries, 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.

Tender, funny and cathartic, This Modern Love is a compelling portrait of individual desires, resentments and fears that reminds us that, whether we're in or out of love, we're not alone.

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SocialBookCo User Reviews

Samantha Andrews on 25 Oct 2016
“I'm always writing about the 'feels' in the romance books I read - swoon-worthy moments really stand out to me. This Modern Love is a whole new level of feels for me, though, because the book is composed of real love letters collected from over 100 countries. They are love letters expressing the excitement of a new found love, the dedication of a lasting relationship, and even the heartache, and anger, of a break up.

Every letter was heartfelt and so personal. I was left feeling for them. I was hoping they found a new love, or continued being blissful in their relationships. Even the letters on break-ups had me rooting for the letter authors and the strength they found during that hard time. This Modern Love was real, raw, cute, and funny.

The best part of This Modern Love was how relatable it was. I have been through the honeymoon phase of a relationship as well as plenty of break ups. However, reading the middle part about being in a relationship hit me the most. Many of them made me think of my own marriage and how grateful I am to have my husband. It could have easily been me writing some of the letters. No matter where you're at in your love life there's bound to be a love letter in This Modern Love that resonates with you. ”

Lotte van Hemert on 23 Sep 2016

This book is an anthology of love letters, collected and compiled by the charming and talented British filmmaker, Will Darbyshire. He asked people from all around the world to share their love stories through letters, pictures, and tweets. After sorting through all of them, Darbyshire made a selection of works which he separated into three sections; the beginning, the middle, and the end. Within these sections, a number of letters are used to tell the story of that specific section.


The one thing that stood out to me the moment I opened the book was the layout. The letters are formatted in a way that's very pleasing on the eye, not too clustered. And there are images printed next to a bunch of letters which complimented the feel of said letter very well. In addition to the standard black ink on white paper, there were some nice red details added tot he pages, which went very well with the 'love' theme of the book.

The next thing I very much enjoyed about this book was the fact that the submitted letters were printed onto the pages of this book completely unabridged and unedited. Grammatical errors were left in, in order to not censor the feelings of the writer in any way. I was very pleasantly surprised by this, I expected the letters to be slightly edited. I expected the spelling mistakes to be corrected and faults in sentence structure to be checked and filtered out. But I was wrong and happy about it (that doesn't happen often, trust me). It showed that Darbyshire really wanted the true feelings and raw emotions of the writers to shine through. And he definitely achieved that. It was the little details that made the letters unique. Some letters were addressed to the pet names of significant others and some letters included inside jokes that I can't even begin to try and imagine the origin story behind. And no matter what other elements were included, every single letter was heartfelt and (brutally) honest.

The last thing that I liked and that I want to mention is the fact that you get to read the stories of all kinds of people in this book. To be really honest I was expecting contributions from the standard demographic of an attractive British YouTuber, teenage girls like myself (yes, I still get to call myself a teenager for 3 months and I will do so every chance I get). But this was not the case at all, the youngest contributor is 12 years old and the oldest is 81 years young. Not only the ages were very diverse, but the gender, sexuality, and country of residence also varied.

Favorite quote:

"A new love that will complete me

Self love, this is what's meant to be"


I can't think of anything I didn't like about the letters because I know they all come from the heart and I don't think anyone should criticize that. But if enjoyed all the letters and don't have anything I disliked about them, then why didn't I give this book 5 stars? That's because I would've liked to see a bit more of Will Darbyshire in this book. Yes, he wrote an introduction to every section of this book and he added pictures he took himself but I didn't really get to read his story. I got a very personal glimpse into the lives of the contributors but I didn't really get to see any more of Will. I would've liked to read a letter from him, not even necessarily to his girlfriend (I get that he's a media personality and might not want to publicly share that) but he could have written a letter to another loved one, for example, a family member. This would've added the extra touch I thought it needed.

My final thoughts:

Did this book make me slightly bitter about being single? Absolutely. Did I still gush over the adorable romantic letters while reading this book? You bet! Overall I really enjoyed this book, the letters ranged from delightfully lighthearted to heart-wrenchingly deep and I think Will Darbyshire did a great job at selecting them. I would've liked to see more of Will in this, but I guess the fact that he didn't add a lot of personal things, makes it marketable to a wider audience. If you are looking for a quick read that will stir up all sorts of emotions then I would definitely give this one a go.”

Natasha Davies on 04 Sep 2016
“Ok so I'll be honest, out of all the books published over the course of 2016, this is probably the last book I would have chosen to read based on the blurb! Yet another baby-faced, adolescent You Tuber releases a book, this time it's just a random collection of their follower's thoughts on love and relationships, collected from social media. Ugh I thought! My friends at sent me a copy to review, and I confess to groaning inwardly as I opened the first page, but a couple of hours later, as I turned the last page the groan had turned into a contented chuckle.

Darbyshire ponders what modern love is all about. It is fairly obvious we are not all gallivanting about on white chargers, rescuing damsels in distress, or waving a sorrowful goodbye to a love, off to serve in the trenches of war for years, anymore. This book proves the passion played out in long forgotten letters of the past, or epic romantic literature has not been forgotten with the invention of the text message. The book is a compendium of answers to a series of six questions Darbyshire posed to his followers on various social media channels, over the course of six months. The book is then split into three sections, the beginning of a relationship, the middle, and the ending.

This book totally took me by surprise. There are some wonderful pieces about that delightful 'crush' phase, when no matter your age or situation that first fluttering of lust for another human being makes you feel like you are thirteen again. My favourite was from Bella, who ended her letter "In conclusion I have two things to say. I really, really like you and damn you hormones."

I really loved the 'middle' phase; here contributors describe how thankful they are to have the addressee of their piece, in their life. Ok so some of the contributions here are sickeningly sweet, they are after all from a contented market, safe and secure in long term relationships.

The gut wrenching final part of the book is about the end of relationships. There are some incredibly hard to read pieces, some of broken homes, broken dreams and some involving children as the product of relationships ending. This part of the book while incredibly sad, has some absolute comedy gold running through it. One of my favourites involves Soph and her childhood Pokemon card collection. Another is from Shanahbelle who asks Ben to '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."!

In between the Tweets, letters and emails are some wonderful images that help to illustrate the pieces and themes, and the book itself is a solid red hardback which is an aesthetic pleasure to hold.

I'm really pleased I read this book, maybe it has made me rethink the whole You Tuber genre, I'm not sure! It would be a great gift for a lover, or maybe for yourself to help you find the words when a relationship sadly ends.”

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