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A Reader Comments

9-25-08 - A message about Thank You and OK!

I don't usually print emails and letters I get about my books but I do get them and thought I'd share this one. Thanks Nicolas. - DC

Subject: Thank You and OK!


First off, I apologize for the subject header, as I realize you must get it often. However, the e-mail is topical, so I wont get too worked up about it.

My name is Nicolas Laine, and I am an 18-year-old living in Seattle. I first read 'Thank You and OK!' in my freshman year, as it was in my high school library, where I spent most of my time. I loved it. I read it again. Then again. And so on. I was forced to part with this long overdue book in 2006, as part of the school allowing me to drop out involved returning all my library books.

For the past two years, I have been sort of passively searching for your book, checking the 'Buddhism' section of every bookstore I go to. (I personally find it strange that in the two times I have found your book, it has been in the religion section. I didn't find the book particularly 'about' Buddhism, so much as about interpersonal relationships and interactions. But I digress.) So you can imagine my excitement when I came upon a brand-new copy of 'Thank You and OK!' in my local Half-Price Books. I took it home, and spent the rest of that day and the better part of the next re-reading it.

It is much better now than it was before.

I am very young, and two years isn't very long, but in that time I have had to grow up a little. I was homeless for a while, I had to go live with strange relatives, and so on and so forth. Basically, all the things they write in those awful Scholastic teen dramas nobody reads. Anyway, even though I loved your book and got a lot out of it at 15, I was blown away by it now. At some points I laughed, honest-to-god laughed out loud, in front of people, which is not normally a reaction the a book can provoke in me. The last section of the book made me cry, mainly because I don't think I have read a description of loss that...well, accurate. Mainly, you have achieved an enviable goal: you have written about experiences that resonate with people that don't even remotely have to do with what you are writing about. I don't know anything about monastic life, I have never been to Japan, and the closest thing to knowing anything about Zen is that I once read 'Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind', and still have a copy somewhere. Perhaps I am totally missing the point, but now I feel (if on a visceral, not intellectual, level) that I have a deeper understanding of these things through someone I can see myself in.

You have written my favorite book. I mean, I've read a lot of books, and yours is at the top of the heap. I like Kafka, Bulgakov is awesome, but your book makes me feel. I just want to thank you.

Nicolas Laine

P.S. Re-reading this, I see that my sentance structure makes this e-mail a chore to read. Sorry!

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