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VINE VOICEon May 21, 2008
In November 2006, Smith Magazine challenged readers to write their memoirs in six words--no more, no less. One thousand of the submissions are printed here, with more to be found on their website. Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure is not an easy book to review, so don't think of this as an actual review; think of it a challenge. Here is a sampling of six-word memoirs from the book to provide inspiration.

Some writers tell their stories with humor and self-deprecation:

>> Woman Seeks Men--High Pain Threshold.
>> My first concert: Zappa. Explains everything.
>> Aging late bloomer yearns for do-over.

As you would expect, there are many bitter or bittersweet references to relationships gone bad:

>> Girlfriend is pregnant, my husband said.
>> Just in: boyfriend's gay. Merry Christmas.
>> Let's just be friends, she said.

Some lucky people sent memoirs that radiate contentment.

>> Alone at home, cat on lap.
>> Hope my obituary spells "debonair" correctly.
>> Wasn't born a redhead; fixed that.

There is the contingent who describe themselves without judgment:

>> Gave commencement address, became sex columnist.
>> Mormon economist marries feminist. Worlds collide.
>> Still lost on road less traveled.

And last but not least, the philosophers who distill life experience into a greater truth:

>> Palindromic novels fall apart halfway through.
>> Cheese is the essence of life.
>> Wandering imagination opens doors to paradise.

We're all busy people, each with a story to tell. C'mon, what's yours?

Linda Bulger, 2008
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on February 5, 2008
In short, I love this book.

I'd have never imagined you could get so much out of six words. I was wrong. Very, very wrong.

From clever and funny to poignant and sad, the breadth of the memoirs in this book is astounding. They truly make every word count. I should warn you, though: It's addictive. Countless times, I found myself sitting down, intending to read merely a few, only to find myself completely engrossed.

This is one of those books I think everyone should own. Whether you're on the bus in the morning or reading before bed, it provides the perfect break from the day.

It's a wonderful sampling of both established and up-and-coming talent. "Not Quite What I Was Planning" is chock-full of writers you love, writers you've never heard of, and--if six words can be considered a hint of things to come--writers you're soon going to be hearing much, much more about.

My six word review? "Buy this book. Seriously, do it."
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on February 7, 2008
Highly addictive. Hard not to read selections out loud to people sitting near you. Equally hard not to think of ways to condense your own life into six words. A bit of an emotional roller coaster, but in the best way.
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on February 5, 2008
These six word memoirs are so fun to browse. It is truly amazing what people can convey in just six words. People have chosen to give a life summary, to explain their philosophies on life or to tell a short story. I have now looked through the book 4 times (looking for my own six words) and come across something new each time. I still haven't found my own though . . .
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on February 5, 2008
As an obscure author of one of the entries I was sent a copy - and what fun it was to read through the thought-provoking, humorous, challenging, emotional, and flippant memoirs that were selected
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on August 6, 2013
Some of the six-word memoirs are wonderful. Some are just fodder. All in all, though, brilliant bits that put Twitter to shame.

Some faves:

Woman with man's name-- thanks, parents! --Curtis Sittenfeld

Became my mother. Please shoot me. --Cynthia Kaplan

Hope my obituary spells "debonair" correctly. --Gregg Easterbrook

Girlfriend is pregnant, my husband said. --Shonna MacDonald

Blogging is easy. Writing is hard. --Jennifer Shreve
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on February 5, 2008
Not only fun and funny but insightful and deep. It cheers you up if you feel blue and makes you laugh when you least expect it! This book will find you making 6 word memoirs for your life everyday. More than a coffee table book, a must read!
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on February 8, 2008
I read this book from cover to cover in one sitting, often stopping to read bits aloud to my husband. Filled with often funny, sometimes heartbreaking six word memoirs, this book will please just about anyone on your gift list.
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on February 6, 2008
This book is authentic, hilarious, deep and delightful. Kudos to the authors for a genuinely unique idea in world of also-rans! I plan to buy 10 copies and bring them as housegifts wherever I go. Warning: thinking in 6 word memoirs is addictive.
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on February 7, 2008
Lots of fun and interesting little stories in just 6 words. It makes you use your imagination in a different way with each new memoir.
0Comment|8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse