I Will Always Write Back Book Summary - I Will Always Write Back Book explained in key points

I Will Always Write Back summary

Caitlin Alifirenka

Brief summary

I Will Always Write Back is a heartwarming memoir that tells the story of Caitlin and Martin, two pen pals from different worlds. Their friendship transcends borders and changes their lives forever.

Give Feedback
Table of Contents

    I Will Always Write Back
    Summary of key ideas

    Unlikely Friendship Across Continents

    In I Will Always Write Back, Caitlin Alifirenka and Martin Ganda with Liz Welch recount a life-affirming friendship that blossomed between two pen pals living thousands of miles apart. Caitlin Alifirenka, a 12-year-old girl from Pennsylvania, and Martin Ganda, a 14-year-old boy from Zimbabwe, form an unlikely bond that changes both of their lives dramatically.

    It all starts in 1997 when Caitlin chooses Zimbabwe out of her pen-friend options in French class for no other reason than it sounds exotic. Caitlin shares her normal teenage life while Martin opens a window for Caitlin into his impoverished world, where even a single pen can be a prized possession.

    Heartfelt Exchanges Bolstering an Improbable Bond

    As they write back and forth, Caitlin learns about Martin’s stark reality—his daily struggles, his intelligence, and his ambitious dreams. She shares her life innocently, without realizing the disparity between their worlds. Martin cherishes these letters, even though responding becomes tougher due to his financial constraints. He conceals his penury, infusing positivity in his return letters.

    Time passes, and their friendship grows. Eventually, Martin gathers the courage to disclose his situation to Caitlin. Shocked and moved by his confession, Caitlin, with the help of her mother, starts sending him life-changing resources—school supplies, clothes, and ultimately, money.

    Overcoming the Hive of Social Disparity

    This act of kindness marks the turning point in Martin's life. Caitlin and her family's support allows Martin to stay in school, performing excellently in his studies—he went on to become the top student in Zimbabwe, earning him scholarship opportunities from international entities. It's an achievement that was almost unthinkable given his backgrounds.

    However, his road to success was not smooth. Martin faced plenty of obstacles, the most significant being his denial of a visa that almost dashed his dreams of studying in America. Caitlin's family again steps in to help Martin, fighting tirelessly to ensure he's given the opportunity he deserved.

    Inspiring Outcome Born from Cross-border Friendship

    Eventually, Martin is granted a full scholarship to Villanova University. His path was paved by hard work, aided by the kindness and determination of Caitlin and her family. His feat demonstrates the power of friendship, generosity, and the relentless spirit of human resilience against all odds.

    In conclusion, I Will Always Write Back is a heartwarming tale of hope, compassion, and the transformative power of friendship. It underlines the fact that benevolence has no borders and asserts the commendable truth that even modest acts can make a significant difference in someone's life.

    Give Feedback
    How do we create content on this page?
    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is I Will Always Write Back about?

    This book tells the true story of two pen pals, Caitlin and Martin, who form an unlikely friendship through letters. As they exchange letters, they learn about each other's lives and develop a deep bond. The book highlights the power of friendship, kindness, and the impact of reaching out to someone in need. It is a heartwarming and inspiring tale of connection and the difference one person can make in another's life.

    I Will Always Write Back Review

    I Will Always Write Back (2015) is a heartwarming true story about friendship and the transformative power of connection. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Through a series of letters, it chronicles the astonishing friendship between two teenagers from different continents, revealing the shared humanity that transcends borders.
    • With its honest portrayal of poverty and privilege, it offers a thought-provoking exploration of social inequality and the importance of empathy.
    • The book takes you on a rollercoaster of emotions, combining joy, compassion, and despair, leaving you with a deep appreciation for the impact individuals can have on each other's lives.

    About the Author

    Caitlin Alifirenka is an American author known for her memoir, I Will Always Write Back. The book, co-written with Martin Ganda, tells the true story of their pen pal relationship that transcended continents and changed both of their lives. Through their letters, Caitlin and Martin developed a deep friendship and supported each other's dreams. I Will Always Write Back has received critical acclaim for its powerful message of empathy and the impact of small acts of kindness.

    Categories with I Will Always Write Back

    Book summaries like I Will Always Write Back

    People ❤️ Blinkist 
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    People also liked these summaries

    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    31 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    10+ years
    Experience igniting personal growth
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 7,000+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial

    I Will Always Write Back FAQs 

    What is the main message of I Will Always Write Back?

    The main message of I Will Always Write Back is the power of friendship and how it can transform lives.

    How long does it take to read I Will Always Write Back?

    The reading time for I Will Always Write Back varies, but it typically takes a few hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is I Will Always Write Back a good book? Is it worth reading?

    I Will Always Write Back is a heartwarming and inspiring book. It's definitely worth reading for its powerful story of connection and global understanding.

    Who is the author of I Will Always Write Back?

    Caitlin Alifirenka is the author of I Will Always Write Back.

    What to read after I Will Always Write Back?

    If you're wondering what to read next after I Will Always Write Back, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Mandela’s Way by Richard Stengel
    • Emergency by Neil Strauss
    • The Blue Sweater by Jacqueline Novogratz
    • The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
    • Things a Little Bird Told Me by Biz Stone
    • Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo
    • Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
    • The Man Who Fed the World by Leon Hesser
    • Losing My Virginity by Richard Branson
    • The Poisoner’s Handbook by Deborah Blum