Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday Salon: PostSecret: Confessions on Life, Death, and God by Frank Warren

A salon is a place for the exchange of ideas, so what better place to discuss Frank Warren's latest PostSecret book than Sunday Salon? It's been two years since Warren's last collection, so some readers might not be familiar with his fascinating compilations. The new book is PostSecret: Confessions on Life, Death, and God.

In 2004, Frank Warren started the PostSecret project, asking people to share their secrets with him by sending them on postcards. Since then, he's received over four hundred thousand postcards, many of them anonymous. People have bared their souls, revealing secrets they never told anyone about their feelings and their lives. Naturally, they're short, usually one or two lines since they're on a postcard. But, all of the secrets of the world can be revealed in those lines. There are stories that will make you smile, even more that will break your heart, and so many that will make you think of your own life. Some stories stay with you once you read it. A co-worker has always remembered an early postcard, "I am a Southern Baptist Pastor's Wife. No one knows that I do not believe in God." It must have been a powerful message because it's included in the Foreward to this book.

Rebecca Alban Hoffberger, Founder and Director of the American Visionary Art Museum, wrote the forward since she asked Warren to curate a PostSecret mini-exhibition in conjunction with a show, "All Faiths Beautiful: From Atheism to Zoroastrianism, Respect for Diversity of Belief." This book is the result, a small book with powerful messages.

Everyone will be struck by different messages, depending on your own life. I do know it feels voyeuristic peering into other people's secrets. But, show this book, or any other PostSecret book, to a friend, and they'll be hooked.

My favorite postcards in this book are my favorites because my father died when he was only 59. One says, "Sometimes when my dad tells me stories I've already heard, I can't help but think about how much I'll miss hearing them when he's gone. I love you, Dad." And, the other is, "If I died today, would there be anything you wish you had said to me?" College students and other young adults are big fans of the PostSecret books. They're for all audiences, but think of them as a gift for a young adult.

Religion, death, sex, families. All of these secrets have been revealed to Frank Warren, and, through Warren, to all of us. They're beautiful, tragic, sad, funny. And, they will move you. They're our lives, with the latest peek in PostSecret: Confessions on Life, Death, and God.

The PostSecret website is

FTC Full Disclosure: Library book

PostSecret: Confessions on Life, Death, and God by Frank Warren. HarperCollins, ©2009. ISBN 9780061859335 (hardcover), 404p.


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

This is really interesting to me. I've heard of some similar things for websites (I think there's one for secrets) but not for books. And I like the idea behind this one. Looks like a good Christmas book for some readers in my family.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Lesa said...

Elizabeth, The PostSecret website is probably the one you heard about for secrets. There are a series of books made from that site, and the postcards. Have I filled all your Christmas lists yet? (grin)