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I Can't Keep My Own Secrets: Six-Word Memoirs by Teens Famous & Obscure Paperback – September 1, 2009


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I Can't Keep My Own Secrets: Six-Word Memoirs by Teens Famous & Obscure + Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure + It All Changed in an Instant: More Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous & Obscure
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen (September 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061726842
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061726842
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.4 x 7.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #408,121 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 7 Up—Almost 800 authors, ranging in age from 13 to 19, contributed to this thought-provoking collection of individual memoirs. Based on the interest resulting from the publication of Not Quite What I Was Planning (HarperCollins, 2008), the editors of SMITH Magazine decided to challenge teens to write the story of their lives in a few brief words. The result is a compelling compendium that will provoke laughter—"Mom just revoked my creative license"; sadness—"Grandma is dying while I'm out shopping"; and empathy and thought—"In the nest, twigs are sharp." Less than a dozen of the selections, most of which are not as good as those by "obscure" authors, are written by famous teens. The short length, relevant topics, and authentic emotions will ensure that this book will appeal to a wide variety of teens, including reluctant readers. English teachers, theater teachers, and student book-club sponsors will revel in the instructional possibilities that could spring from this anthology. It may require some initial hand selling, but ultimately this book will find broad appeal in most collections.—Lynn Rashid, Marriotts Ridge High School, Marriottsville, MD
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

SMITH Magazine founding editor Larry Smith has worked as an editor at Men's Journal, ESPN: The Magazine, and Might. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Popular Science, on Salon.com, and many other places. Larry lives in New York City



Rachel Fershleiser is SMITH's memoir editor and has written for the Village Voice, the New York Press, Print, and the National Post. Rachel lives in New York City.


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Customer Reviews

Some made my day a whole lot brighter and better.
Catt
This book is very light on the illustrations and photographs because the written word creates the power in this one.
D. Fowler
I would recommend this book for anyone in middle school (or older).
Taylor_Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Donovan TOP 1000 REVIEWER on February 28, 2010
Format: Paperback
This book has received some critical acclaim, and I was a bit skeptical. I wondered how much of an impact 6 words could have.

Well, while it's still not the kind of work that can transcend age or genre preference (which is the kind of book I give 5 stars), I can definitely see this appealing to some teens.

In fact, I can see teens copying certain of the entries out onto their notebooks or putting them up in their lockers as they think "Finally -- someone else understands!"

Another strong point -- they are indexed in the back by topic, so a teen who was in fact dealing with abuse or or rejection or death would be able to find the lines that might speak to them.

They deal with typical teen issues, but seem to lean more heavily towards homosexuality and sexual dalliances or abuse than perhaps is the norm. However, having something for every teen from every experience -- from drop out to over-achiever to good girl to slut -- is part of the appeal.

A note -- though the title promises memoirs by teens "famous and obscure," there are only a small handful of famous memoirs, and the rest are quite obscure, and noted only by a first name and last initial. I think that some people will buy this book expecting more famous memoirs, while in fact, I think that the anonymity and universality of the memoirs is what will cause it to have a strong impact.
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Format: Paperback
Everyone has a story to tell about themselves, but few can tell their story in six short words. Six hundred authors between the ages of thirteen and nineteen have done just that. They talk about their sorrows, their fears and their hopes. Some want to talk about their gaming, food, friends and family. From best friends to love, lies and war, it's all in this book. Every life is special and unique and you're going to hear a slice of life from young people in six words, no more no less!

"Defined by numbers: age, weight, SATs."

"Loved college until I got there."

"I will be that cat lady."

"Always the friend, never the girl."

"The distance could never break us."

I loved this wide assortment of memoirs, memoirs that could just as easily have been written by adults. The variety of emotion, hope, fears and day to day topics was amazingly fun to read. This book is very light on the illustrations and photographs because the written word creates the power in this one. If you want to know about the younger generation, this book is a good starting point!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Catt on December 22, 2009
Format: Paperback
The Good: This is my first anthology and it totally sky rocketed through my expectations.

Some made me want to track down these people and just give them a huge hug. Some made my day a whole lot brighter and better. Some really hit the nail on the head, made me think, "Damn straight!", and give them a huge round of applause. Some just made me snort milk out my nose because they were hilarious!

But, what all of them did was make me feel less alone.

The Bad: It may be a little too short for some... but, that's okay since it's a paperback! But yeah, it flies by really quickly (I read it in under 30 minutes) and by the time you blink, you're done.

Overall: Read this book. You will love it.

Grade: A+
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Format: Paperback
I can't Keep My Own Secrets is the latest Six-Word Memoir book (which began with Not Quite What I Was Planning), written entirely by teens, famous and obscure.

If you've never picked up one of these books, they're really quite simple: the book is filled with "memoirs" that consist on only six words that range from sad to funny to heartbreaking and everything in between. This collection especially captures so many emotions, making you laugh and think and want to cry, all in the space of one page. Some memorable ones:

"Found out I had cancer. Damn."

"Hair's pink to piss you off."

"I resent people who ignore grammar." (I LOVE this one!)

"I never got my Hogwarts letter."

.....And so many more!

It's really easy to just flip through this book quickly and read all of the entries, but the best part is that there are so many of them, you can keep coming back to them every once in a while and feel like you're reading them for the first time. I'm just in awe of the talent and intelligence some of these teens possess, and it is always so much fun going through the memoirs. It's a book that will make you laugh, challenge some of your beliefs, and make you think, six words at a time.

And P.S., I actually have an entry in this as well (though I don't think mine is anywhere nearly as good as most of the ones in this book), which has its own little story behind it, but I won't tell you where it's at, you'll have to buy the book and see if you can't find it yourself!
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Format: Paperback
After NOT QUITE WHAT I WAS PLANNING: SIX-WORD MEMOIRS BY WRITERS FAMOUS & OBSCURE came out, many teens wrote in to Smith Magazine with their own six-word memoirs. And the editors put them together to create a book that is filled with teenage thoughts and insights.

This was an incredibly easy book to fly through. And totally engaging. There were so many great things that the teens said. And a lot of them were shocking.

There were memoirs about falling in love, being heartbroken, being gay, having parents who were neglectful, having diseases, missing family members who passed away, and so much more!

I think my favorite one was actually the very last one in the Advanced Readers Copy that I have: "My life story: to be continued.~by Cassie H." And it made me think. Just what would I say if I had to write about my life in six words?

How about:

Huge Florida Gator fan and bookworm.

Reviewed by: Andrea
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