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It All Changed in an Instant: More Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous & Obscure Paperback – January 5, 2010


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

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; 1 edition (January 5, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061719439
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061719431
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.7 x 7.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #280,723 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Will thrill minimalists and inspire maximalists.” (Vanity Fair)

“The brilliance is in the brevity.” (New York Post)

“A perfect distraction and inspiration.” (Denver Post)

“Irresistibly clever.” (Chicago Tribune)

“American haiku.” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

“You could spend a lifetime brainstorming.” (The New Yorker)

“The pithiest of life stories.” (O, The Oprah Magazine)

“Makes for compulsive reading and prove arguably as insightful as any 300+ page biography. Taken as a whole, this cascade of quotes from contributors famous and unknown creates a dizzying snowball effect of perspectives and feelings.” (Publishers Weekly)

“A torrent of self-expression not unlike the one launched by Frank Warren when he began inviting people to write their secrets on the back of postcards.” (Toronto Star)

“The petite self-portraits encompass love and love, joy and sorrow-everything you’d expect from a longer book.” (ReadyMade Magazine)

“A fabulously appealing exercise both for writers and for readers.” (Telegraph)

“A good number conjure up both a story line and a worldview. Six-word review: Buy it, keep it in bathroom.” (Philadelphia Magazine)

“I fell so in love with it.” (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

“Six words. Personal stories. Infinite possibilities. These ADD autobiographies prove that brevity can be the soul not simply of wit.” (VSL.com)

“Dude’s weird premise yields interesting stories.” (Ira Glass, NPR's This American Life)

“Six-word memoirs leave book lover speechless.” (Rocky Mountain News)

From the Back Cover

Thousands of people around the world responded to SMITH Magazine's call for six-word memoirs. Following up on the smashing success of the New York Times bestseller Not Quite What I Was Planning, here are more memoirs from Sarah Silverman, Junot Diaz, Neil Patrick Harris, Suze Orman, Gay Talese, Tony Hawk, Amy Tan—and hundreds of never-before-published writers.

Funny and bittersweet, witty and wild, or downright tragic, these addictive life stories are both monumental and miniscule. Six-word memoirs have become a globalphenomenon, offering anyone and everyone a telling peek at humanity and a chance to find the writer within.

"Father: ‘Anything but journalism.' I rebelled." —Malcolm Gladwell

"Live man's life in woman's body!" —Diane von Furstenberg

"Met wife at her bachelorette party." —Eddie Matz

"The miserable childhood leads to royalties." —Frank McCourt

"I never checked my lottery ticket." —Casey Burra

"Shiny head. Hippie hair. Shiny head." —Wally Lamb

"Bipolar, no two ways about it." —Jason Owen

"So would you believe me anyway?" —James Frey

"Can't look at heart donor's picture." —Tonia Hall

"Healed with steel, then got real." —Dr. Mehmet Oz

"I still practice my Oscar speech." —Jennifer Labbienti

"I've done it all except hear." —Marlee Matlin


More About the Authors

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Customer Reviews

I think this book is a must have for writers.
Lisa Qiu
The reader will find that you can make a sound statement, judgement or comment without being wordy or long-winded, and the few words can make immediate good sense.
Joseph H. Race
Interspersed with text memoirs are graphic memoirs which brings an interesting aspect to the book.
D. Sorel

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Lisa Qiu on January 27, 2010
Format: Paperback
I can't believe it's finally out!

After obsessively looking at six word memoirs online these editors have gleaned the best of the best. There's so much diversity in thought and storytelling in a hyper-limited platform.

Whenever I tell people about the book they usually say that they're really into the idea or they've already got one or gets them religiously for friends in hospitals or are at a turning point in their life.

At first I thought the idea was a too precious, but there's so much depth and humor in these books--- I became addicted and started writing ones of my own.

I think this book is a must have for writers. It inspires and is a great exercise.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By D. Sorel VINE VOICE on May 20, 2010
Format: Paperback
Legend has it, Ernest Hemingway was sitting in a bar (predictable!) when a fan of his approached him and commented on how well he can tell a story in only a few words. He then challenged Hemingway to tell a story in the fewest amount of words possible. Hemingway shot back with "For Sale: Baby shoes, never worn". Whether this story is true or just once of those great Hemingway myths, it is clear that a full story can be told in only 6 words. SMITH Magazine decided to use this as a premise for a project in which they asked their readers to write their autobiography/memoir in only 6 words. Only expecting a hundred or so responses, the editor of SMITH Magazine was astounding when hundreds of thousands of people wrote in. Among these entries were some famous people such as Stephen Colbert, Alison Bechdel, Yogi Berra's granddaughter and others. These responses were then published in four different books two of which are just overall collections of the 6 word memoirs, one directed towards teens, and one specifically on love and heartbreak.

The entries are almost all different and range from the funny to the poignant. I laughed out loud when I read "failed at love, won at scrabble" and was incredibly moved by a memoir about a woman who was raped and was unable to move on making her feel as if her life was useless. I smiled at the sentence "awkward girl takes chances. Fun ensures" and even wished that I had written it! Interspersed with text memoirs are graphic memoirs which brings an interesting aspect to the book.

I know that some have not given this book the best of reviews, but I would really encourage those people to re-read the book and think a little while on each entry because many have great depth. Personally, I loved it!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Bliss Ford on January 12, 2010
Format: Paperback
What the authors of the Six-Word Movement have done is create a new poetic form. It's a universe, a story in six words, the briefest of prose poems. Their latest book incorporates all the whimsy and intelligence of their other books and I recommend It All Changed in an Instant--to everyone!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on January 5, 2010
Format: Paperback
This is a fun, often irreverent, with many poignant entries in this entertaining succinct memoir collection. The selected contributors use six words to describe their "thoughts". With commentary like Edward Doerr's "Age twenty-tree, scored pallbearer's hat trick" or "Wife away, pizza today, diet tomorrow" by David Logan, the audience will empathize or laugh with some as for many of us they hit home. Others are sad like Noema Abbott's profound "Tiny son dying in my arms". Best read leisurely over several weeks, It All Changed in an Instant is entertaining yet deep as summed up by Lisa Anne Auburch's "Everything I touch turns to mold" and Brooke Marie Gorman's "Story of my life? bad timing" as compared with the ultimate optimist Phil Skversky when he says: "Alzheimer's meeting new people every day". Readers will appreciate the short and snappy deep collection that includes classic concise Yogi-isms while making up their own - even the shopping list, I critique.

Harriet Klausner
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kathi A. Wright on February 23, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
although i am a contributing memoirist to this particular 'smith magazine' tome, and am totally addicted to submitting six worders and stories on-line to smith (when i have a working computer), this book is a meal for the mind! it is amazing what one can convey in the space of six little words. it is small enough to fit in a backpack, but don't let the small size fool you - it has a BIG heart! a great gift idea! just try to NOT write your own sixes once you finish with this latest volume! i am hooked on six words!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lawral Wornek on March 24, 2010
Format: Paperback
Like the other six-word memoir books this book will keep you highly entertained for a few hours, if you go at it all at once, or for weeks if you have the self-control to spread out the fun. The list of celebrity contributors is much longer in this book than the first and includes Isabelle Allende, Tony Kushner, Alison Bechdel, Junot Diaz and other well-known authors. Bob Barker (My life story --- spay or neuter.), Neil Patrick Harris (Barney...Doogie...! Average names elude me.), and other mainstream stars' submissions also appear.*

"It all changed in an instant" boasts of more artwork than previous books in the series, and the back matter also includes longer stories that expound on or explain some of some of the six-word memoirs throughout the book. Once again, though, the real soul of this book is the stories from people you will never know.

Made weird children -- will die proud. (27)
Michael Stipe mumbled my formative years. (57)
Little me would've liked be me. (84)
And because there is always one that hits too close to home:
My cat is an ungrateful brat. (108)

Book source: review copy provided by publisher
*All page numbers and quotes taken from an advanced uncorrected proof and may not match the published copy.
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