In September of 2006, following a desperately sad childhood that saw both drug-addicted parents murdered and the care of her younger siblings left in her hands, 16-year-old Sacia Flowers decided to write to J. K. Rowling. In her heartfelt letter — full text here — she spoke of her love for the Harry Potter series and the empathy she felt for Harry given their upbringings; mentioned the bullying she experienced throughout school and her inability to make friends due to her insecurities; and then thanked the author for "lending me your hero and his world" during such a tough time, adding, "He is my hero, and you are my heroine."
Below is Rowling's lovely, encouraging repsonse.
(Source: HeraldNet; Image of J. K. Rowling via.)
19th September 2006
Dear Sacia (beautiful name, I've never heard it before),
Thank you for your incredible letter; incredible, because you do indeed sound phenomenally like Harry Potter, in your physical resemblance and in your life experience. I cannot tell you how moved I was by what you wrote, nor how sorry I am to hear about your parents. What a terrible loss.
I know what it is like to be picked on, as it happened to me, too, throughout my adolescence. I can only wish that you have the same experience that I did, and become happier and more secure the older you get. Being a teenager can be completely horrible, and many of the most successful people I know felt the same way. I think the problem is that adolescence, though often misrepresented as a time of rebellion and unconventionality, actually requires everybody to conform if they aspire to popularity - or at least to 'rebel' while wearing the 'right' clothes! You're now standing on the threshold of a very different phase in your life, one where you are much more likely to find kindred spirits, and much less likely to be subject to the pressures of your teenage years.
It is an honour to me to know that somebody like you loves Harry as much as you do. Thank you very much for writing to me, I will treasure your letter (which entitles you to boast about this response as much as you like!)
With lots of love
(Jo to you!)