Burton, Curtis Andrew. “Jacob’s Letters”, Independently Published. 2019.
Friendship, Devotion and Encouragement
Curtis Andrew Burton introduces us to Jacob Rubin who has written to his high school study partner Nate Chambers and tells him to remember to never underestimate himself. That letter is the start of a ten-year journey of friendship, devotion, and encouragement. The two could not be more different. Jacob is bold and brash while Nate is shy and sensitive. They both come of age in the 1980’s and we follow their correspondence over the following years. Jacob’s letters from California to Nate in Massachusetts and vice versa help them navigate their struggles with identity, addiction and abuse, depression and divorce, and “coming out” at the peak of the AIDS crisis. “Jacob’s Letters” is personal history that looks at a period of time before email and social media, a time when we actually sat down with pen and paper to write letters; letters that are personal and in which we shared our lives with someone else. I was taken back to that time on the very first page. So much I read reminded me of events in my own life and it did not take long before both Nate and Jacob became friends of mine.
While I said the letters were personal, I never felt as if I was taking away from their privacy. Rather, I was sharing in it. We have intertwined stories of high school friends, each dealing with their struggles and strengths as they write about addictions, alcoholism, gay identity, and mental health.