I Can't Keep My Own Secrets
I Can't Keep My Own Secrets
Larry Smith, Rachel Fershleiser
ISBN 9780061726842
HarperCollins, 2009.
4 stars
Keywords: academics athletes broken-homes harry-potter i-keep-my-own-secrets larry-rachel-fershleiser memoir writing

I Can't Keep My Own Secrets
by Larry Smith, Rachel Fershleiser

Just try not to become obsessed with six-word phrases to sum up any person, place or situation once you’re read this book. Luckily, it’s the healthiest possible addiction.


Legend has it that Ernest Hemingway was once challenged to write a story in six words. His response was: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” Larry Smith, founder of the online storytelling community, SMITH magazine, was inspired by Hemingway's six-word story to invite members of the SMITH community to write six-word memoirs. Eventually, that led to the 2008 printed publication of memoirs written mainly by adults (and a few teens): Not Quite What I Was Planning, a New York Times bestseller. Soon afterwards, teens said they wanted their own space, so the editors at SMITH magazine created SMITHTeens just for them. Those teenagers’ memoirs evolved into I Can’t Keep My Own Secrets: Six-Word Memoirs by Teens Famous and Obscure.

Editors Larry Smith and Rachel Fershleiser here collect 800 memoirs by teenage writers, sure to inspire the teens in your life to start seeing themselves as authors. The themes run from academics (“School sucks. I love art class.”—Jade K.) to romance, home life to Harry Potter (“I never got my Hogwarts letter.”—Deanna H.). Best of all, the collection will more than likely inspire teens to think that life is worth reflecting upon and events are worth talking about—whether the goal is to send out their thoughts anonymously into the SMITHTeens community or with the hope of seeing their names in print one day.

Here’s a very cool trailer SMITH created with a sampling of six-word memoirs.


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