Painfully Beautiful Book Dedications
To those who love stories and details.
Book dedications...something so personal and so central to an author. Yet, they often get lost in the pages of publications or are skipped by readers who are eager to get on to the story. I know I am guilty of doing so.
But book dedications can give insight into the story, they can be the first words of the book you read, and they can stick in your mind while you are reading. Or, they can be short, to the point, and incredibly valuable to the writer.
I compiled a list of some of the best book dedications from fiction novels to non-fiction autobiographies. Some are touching, some funny, some motivational, and some even made me tear up.
The first author I thought of when making this list was Fredrik Backman. He is an incredible writer who reveals much of his writing style through the book dedications.
Take a look at these two dedications from his best-selling fiction novels:
Anxious People by Fredrik Backman
“This book is dedicated to the voices in my head, the most remarkable of my friends. And to my wife, who lives with us.”
Us Against You by Fredrik Backman
“For Neda. I’m still trying to impress you. Just so you know.”
There are some beautiful dedications that pack a punch with only a few words:
Apartment by Teddy Wayne
“To Angus, my happiness.”
Spill Simmer Falter Wither by Sara Baume
“For Mum, of course.”
The House at Riverton by Kate Morton
“For Davin, who holds my hand on the roller-coaster.”
This one is a dedication to book lovers:
The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel
“To my Swan Valley sisters—Wendy, Allison, Alyson, Emily, and Linda—who understand, as only writers and readers truly can, that books shape destiny. And to librarians and booksellers everywhere, who ensure that the books with the power to change lives find their way into the hands of the people who need them most.”
Book dedications that are truly compassionate and thankful:
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
“For Grandma, who showed me there can be light in the darkness.”
Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho
“For S.T. de L., who began to help me without my realizing it.”
Slave Play by Jeremy O’Harris
“For Maxwell Neely-Cohen, on the occasion of his thirtieth birthday, the only person who will love this play. For Erika J. Simpson, my writer, my Kaneisha. For Mom, who taught me how to listen.”
From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home by Tembi Locke
“For Saro, who lit the fire of love. For our daughter, Zoela, the eternal flame.”
Through a Window: My Thirty Years with the Chimpanzees of Gombe by Jane Goodall
“To the chimpanzees of the world, those still living free in the wild and those held captive and enslaved by humans. For all that they have contributed to knowledge and understanding. And to all those who have helped and who are helping in the fight to conserve the chimpanzees in Africa and to bring comfort and new hope to those in captivity. And in memory of Derek.”
The Dearly Beloved by Cara Wall
“To my parents, Myrle and Duane, who somehow taught me everything I know without ever telling me what to do.”
Some book dedications are motivational and empowering.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
“For Lilah. Smash the patriarchy, sweetheart.”
Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
“To all the Queenies out there—you are enough. Trust me.”
Others are painfully beautiful or even heartbreaking:
The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith
“To you. To every you who has ever known the feeling of needing new ways to be.”
Head Over Heels by Hannah Orenstein
“To all the athletes who spoke up about the abuse in gymnastics, I’m in awe of your strength, bravery, and perseverance. Thank you for making this sport safer.”
Dear Scott, Dearest Zelda by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Zelda Fitzgerald and Eleanor Lanahan
“To Mary and David - ‘Happily, happily foreverafterwards - the best we could.’”
Contact by Carl Sagan
“For Alexandra, who comes of age with the Millennium. May we leave your generation a world better than the one we were given.”
Notorious RBG by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik
“To the women on whose shoulders we stand.”
Almost Home by Madisen Kuhn
“To the tired souls searching for home—may you find it somewhere within these pages.”
But to end on a happier note, here are a few lighthearted and hilarious book dedications.
Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
“For Mom, Christian, and John. We did have a lot of fun in spite of everything.”
Bruja Born by Zoraida Cordova
“For my brother, Danny. About damn time, right?”
The Selection by Kiera Cass
“Hi, Dad! *waves*”
The House of Hades by Rick Riordan
“To my wonderful readers: Sorry about that last cliff hanger. Well, no, not really. HAHAHAHA. But seriously, I love you guys.”
Whether you are reading a coming-of-age fiction novel or a memoir by your favorite artist, take a look at the book dedication page before you start...it may really make an impact.