Jenna’s Letter Essay #8; I Will Always Write Back

I recently finished reading a 392 page book  called “I Will Always Write Back”. The book was published on April 8, 2015. This touching novel is an autobiography/memoir by Caitlin Alifirenka & Martin Ganda, with Liz Welch, an award winning journalist and memoirist; her stories have appeared in the New York Times, Vogue, Life, and many more. I read this book because while looking over all the books I’ve read this school year, I realized I haven’t read any nonfiction stories, specifically auto/biographies. I asked my friends Alex if she had any good recommendations and the next day she came into school and handed me this book. “I will Always Write Back”. This book was very interesting and the whole story was quite moving.


This book was about an 12 year old American girl with a 14 year old Zimbabwean penpal. Caitlin (the girl) is an average american girl with a mom dad and brother, she goes to school and has three meals a day; Martin on the other hand is like most Zimbabweans in his area, very very poor with barely enough to feed his family of 6. They continue writing letters back and forth, and with every letter more of themselves is revealed to each other. Caitlin starts helping out the Ganda family by send a little money with her letters, a lot to Martin. The whole book is of their life, from the first letter to the first meet.


While reading the book, I was a little angry and frustrated that Caitlin wasn’t picking up on Martin’s clues at him being very poor. She always looked past it and assumed he was just like her (which is understandable if he didn’t drop such big clues!). I was finally satisfied when she started taking on some realization and action. Both of the characters grew up and developed a lot. Caitlin changed into a more knowledgeable kinder person because she was experiencing through someone else poverty. Caitlin also became very generous and less selfish (in the beginning she sounded a bit snobby), doing things like giving Martin her allowance. Martin became even smarter than he already was (thanks to Caitlin) and experienced new things in the world. Martins hope grew the most because of Caitlin. The genre of this book is autobiography/memoir because it is a giant memoir of both Caitlin and Martins lives together. The book was co-written by both the characters about themselves, making it an autobiography.


The following scene takes place in the airport. Caitlin has gathered up her whole family as and they all wait excitedly for martin to appear from his flight.

“That’s him!” I cried.


I was standing on one side of the plastic barrier that corralled the arriving passengers in one direction. He didn’t get to walk around it-I just reached over and grabbed him. We stood there hugging right over the fence.


“You made it!” I said.


“I did,” Martin answered.


The crowd of people around us waiting for their loved ones burst into applause as my mother rushed up and started snapping photos.


Martin pulled back and said, “Hi,Mom!”


My mother burst into tears. “We’re so glad you are here!”


My dad was crying, too, as he held out his hand to shake Martin’s. “Welcome home, son.”


Martin grabbed his hand and pulled him close. My grandfather was videotaping the whole thing, but that did not stop Martin from saying, “Hi, Nan. Hi, Pop.”


He knew who everybody was.

” (pg. 375-376)


I liked how you could feel everyone’s emotion in this passage. You could tell it was greatly anticipated and was very emotional.


I would rate this book an 8.4/10 because it was very good, one of my favorite books, but at times it kinda felt like it was just going on and on and got a little repetitive and boring. I gave it the .4 because an 8 would be too low and an 8.5 is .1 too high.


I definitely recommend this amazing book! Shoutout to Alex for letting me borrow the book, sorry that there a tiny rip in the back (don’t worry it’s not that bad).


-Jenna Salvatore

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7 thoughts on “Jenna’s Letter Essay #8; I Will Always Write Back

  1. Jenna this is great! I like how you made your essay humorous #LOL but seriously great job!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Jenna,
    This is a really good letter essay, I really liked reading it. I have never heard of this book but it sounds really good. I agree with kerian it was funny especially how you gave it a 8.4. I will consider reading this.

  3. Dear Jenna,

    I loved reading your letter essay, this book looked really interesting. I really like the passage you had, it was very interesting


  4. Jenna,
    I really enjoyed reading your letter essay. This book sounds good from what you wrote and I liked the passage you quoted. The letter essay was very descriptive and you did a great job!

  5. Dear Jenna,
    Great Job! I really enjoyed reading you letter essay. I thought that you added your thoughts about how you felt about the novel. The novel sounds good and I consider reading it.
    Julia Hartmann

  6. Dear Jenna,

    Your letter essay was very well written and I enjoyed reading it a lot. This book sounds very interesting and I think I may read it soon.


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