Hugh Jackman tells his heartbroken 16-year-old self that, yes, he will get over being dumped by Penny at the bus stop. Stephen King says to avoid drugs, while pop star Danni Minogue makes the same suggestion for white bobby socks. JK Rowling volunteers this to-the-point caution: “Avoid bass players. All of them.”
In a new book call Dear Me: More Letters to my Sixteen-Year-Old Self, 70 celebrities pen missives to their pimply, insecure teenager personas, advising them on everything from optimism to – not surprisingly – lessons in love.
Rocker Alice Cooper offers these words of wisdom: “Trashy girls are exciting for about five minutes. Keep your eye out for a really good lookin’ church girl. Then you’ll have the best of both world.”
Hugh Jackman writes on the Penny debacle: “You’ll see her in a couple of years and wonder why you cried every time you heard the Lionel Richie song Penny Lover.” (Of course, as one reader pointed out, it’s likely Penny who’s crying now.)
The book includes an upbeat note from Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York (“You’re a star!”), and a reminder from William Shatner to live in the moment and, somewhat alarmingly, to “succumb to the terror of your hormonal disorder.”
Okay, so it’s not exactly brilliant reading, but there’s something reassuringly universal about the western teenager’s plight. And there are probably more than a few teenagers out there, staring miserably in the mirror, who wouldn’t mind hearing that Wolverine once lamented a forehead full of zits.
The book inspired Telegraph readers to write their own letters and much of the ground covered was common: Worrying about the future, lousy haircuts, love thwarted.
One thoughtful letter writer advises his younger self to have more conversations with his father, before “the grave would swallow his mysteries.”
But most of the letters are amusing: A female readers writes: “You are obsessing over a boy called Dominic. Please stop.” A male reader offers this nugget: “Beer bellies are easy to get.”
Not that any of these 16-year-olds would listen – even to themselves.
What advice would you give to your 16-year-old alter ego?