- 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 (32 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #143,976 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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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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
LARRY SMITH is an adjunct associate professor of economics at the University of Waterloo and a recipient of the University of Waterloo’s Distinguished Teacher Award. During his longstanding tenure, Smith has taught and counselled more than 23,000 students on the subject of their careers, representing more than 10 percent of UW’s alumni. Smith has worked with more than 500 teams of student entrepreneurs, advising them as they have created companies of significant size and success across industries as broad-reaching as communications, software, robotics, entertainment, design and real estate. Smith is also president of Essential Economics Corporation, an economic consulting practice that serves a wide range of public and private clients. “Why You Will Fail to have a Great Career,” his TEDx Talk based on his experience counselling students, has been viewed by over six million people.
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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Top Customer Reviews
I read this book (less than 4,000 words?) in minutes, and can't believe I paid money for it. The content was so not worth it, I can't recommend taking the time to read it even if it were free. Other than a chance to brush up on modern teen slang, abbreviations, and arcane, esoteric pop culture references ("awkward turtle", "burnbook", "fanfic", "the Sims", "aspy", "wet seal", "SVA/KVU", "PHX/PDX", "Texas Pete", etc.), this volume was altogether so NOT entertaining (although I did appreciate the reminder that "CTL-Z" is the "undo" function -- I haven't been able to find that in the help section of my e-mail text editor, so I tried this key combination, and it worked).
The "memoirs", supposedly written by 600 different people, were surprisingly -- or maybe not so surprisingly -- repetitive and redundant. Their most useful function seems to be to serve as compelling evidence in support of the argument that teenagers shouldn't write "memoirs" at all, at least partly because most of them seem to be remembering the same things.
(Consider the preceding sentences a preface to fulfill Amazon's minimum word count requirement for reviews.)
Keeping with the "six word" limitation theme, in addition to the subject line of this review, I just wanted to add:
"In other words: dull, uninteresting book."
Not only is it a terrific book for a quick read aloud and discussion, but it becomes the go-to book my kiddos grab during SSR once I've introduced it. When combined with Smith Magazine's site, smithmag.net, this book can be a great tool for teaching 'memoir' and how to infer - through print and digital media - starting with Mr. Ernest Hemingway's famous six-word story: Baby shoes for sale; never worn.
And yes, we're working on our own six-word stories...