Tag Archives: postsecret

Review of "My Secret," edited by Frank Warren

Frank Warren’s PostSecret is an internet phenomynon, and I have been lucky to have followed it over the past few years. In November, 2005, I reviewed the website and the next month, following a gratis copy, I reviewed the PostSecret book. Now that Frank’s new book is out, the publisher kindly gave me a review copy.

My Secret: A PostSecret Book

I liked the book, but as My Secret seems focused on teenagers, I did not feel competent to write my own review. Fortunately, my friend Quiet Thoughts took a look at my copy and posted a review.

Frank Warren, a strong supporter of 1-800-SUICIDE has made a compelling composition of post cards from teenagers and young adults. Each page is an insight into a personality that is more compelling than mere letters. The appeal of a post card is indescribable. It is a mini work of art that shows a person’s personality and mood, and the snippets written on them are condensed letters that anyone can understand with one glance.

Some of the pages are more disturbing, though. I discovered the more macabre side of my personality through this book, because it was the darkest pages the riveted me the most. Confessions of self-destruction, painful longing for friendship, and even affirmations of being apathetic to others, were not in short supply.

Read the whole thing.

Review of "PostSecret," edited by Frank Warren

Following my review of the PostSecret website, I was contacted as part of PostSecret‘s “blog-first marketing strategy.” Regan Books, a division of Harper Collins, was kind enough to send me a quality of the hard-bound, 276-page PostSecret book. tdaxp-friend Dave generously offered to review collection

Cover of “PostSecret: Extraordinary Confessions from Ordinary Lives”

by Frank Warren ($16.47, amazon.com) is a book about an inspiration which grew into a project. The young Frank was off at camp, mailed his family a postcard, and got home before the postcard did, leading to a lifetime of interest in the personal spaces involved in physical forms of communication.

Don’t Believe the Hype

This book is about an art project/social experiment he assembled, in which he asked people to send him postcards with a secret on them..not necessarily anything world-shattering, just a secret they had not shared with others. The results range from tragic (people feeling sorry about what they never had a chance to say to those now dead) to the somewhat depressing (many, many postcards expressing loneliness and a feeling of abandonment) to the funny (one that cracked Dan up was a confession of physical attraction to Adolf Hitler- not his actions, just how he looked in a uniform) to the uplifting (toward the back of the book, a young woman writes her secrets on postcards, but, deciding this medium is impersonal enough to share comfortably, leaves them on her boyfriend’s pillow as she goes off to work, and receives his proposal of marriage before lunch). Truly, a something-for-everyone brawl of human fears, hates, loves, and lusts, in no particular order. One senses that any attempt to categorize PostSecret would have lost something in translation, much like an effort to straighten up a Zen garden or a Pinter play.

Sometimes I daydream about extraordinary places I might have seen

The postcards frequently feature artwork. Some are professionally printed cards which take on new meaning in the light of the message, others are collages of images and text. A few are clearly original drawings or watercolors, giving the message unique personalization. Some of the artwork is clearly R-rated or more, but always in a context of making the message clear and driving home that these are real people trying to communicate.

I told her I’d stop, but I can’t

This isn’t a book for everyone- one of Dan’s friends [who knew of the book beforehand and began reading by saying “This book is going to be big!” — tdaxp] was actively repulsed by it, thinking it perhaps just too open about what other humans really think and do. I’m of the opinion that this book has value just for its rich visual texture, and the messages are a bonus. If you know someone who really and truly loves people, despite all their quirks, this would be a fine Christmas gift.

Visit the website, or buy the book. After all, the postcards in this review came from a web post by the author.

PS: National Public Radio has a free segment on the book. Interested in other book reviews? Check out Trumpy Productions, or read the tdaxp reviews of Blueprint for Action and Freakonomics.