Thursday, September 22, 2011

Book Review: A Lifetime of Secrets: A PostSecret Book by Frank Warren

My rating: 5/5

From the author: "For A Lifetime of Secrets, the fourth PostSecret book, I've selected postcards that show how secrets can reveal a momentary impulse or haunt us for decades and arranged them by age to follow the common journey we all take through childhood, adolescence, adulthood, maturity. Stretched over a full lifespan, the secrets expose the meaningful ways we change over time, and the surprising ways we don't.

"The postcards narrate childhood stories that have never been spoken; they voice the guarded confessions of our parents and grandparents. They confirm that our rich interior lives are not defined by how old we are, and that with aging comes not only loss but also the possibility of grace and wisdom."

For something with a premise that at first seems purely voyeuristic, this was one of the most interesting, touching, and introspective works of nonfiction that I've ever read.  I am amazed, and at the same time not surprised at all, that so many people would be willing to write a secret on a postcard and send it to a total stranger.  And I'm also amazed at how well the author put the postcards together in this book.  They flow almost seamlessly from one life stage to another, even though they were all written by different people.  Some are uplifting; many are depressing and even downright cringe-worthy.  But it makes the reader think, How would I handle that? How did I handle that? How great that must feel, and how awful that must have been.  And you can't help but examine your own secrets, your own shortfalls and triumphs, and think, how would I decorate my postcard?

Few books make me cry, and this one did.  But I swear it's a good thing. ;)  I'm looking forward to reading all of the other PostSecret books.

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