PostSecret by Frank Warren

19 Jun

Bibliographic Information

Post Secret by Frank Warren, William Morrow, 2005,  ISBN: 978-0060-89919-6

Plot Summary

Frank Warren started PostSecret as a community art project with some simple instructions.  “You are invited to anonymously contribute a secret to a group art project.  Your secret can be a regret, fear, betrayal, desire, confession, or childhood humiliation.  Reveal anything – as long as it is true and you have never shared it with anyone before. Be brief. Be legible. Be creative.”  Since that posting, 150,000 anonymous postcards have been submitted by people eager to share their secrets. Warren initially compiled these on the website, http://www.postsecret.com/, which won two webby awards in 2006.  This year, it was named “Webblog of the year” at the annual Webblog Awards.  Warren has also compiled the most compelling postcards in a series of PostSecret books.  Below are a few sample entries:

Critical Evaluation

Dubbed “Extraordinary Confessions from Ordinary Lives,” PostSecret is just that.  Browsing through the collection of submissions in the PostSecret books allows the reader to eavesdrop on the secret thoughts of other people.  Some of the confessions are funny (“Even vegetarians think of meat from time to time.  I know I do.”).  Some are whimsical (“I leave poetry in library books”. ) Some are poignant (“When I see an ugly bride what I am really seeing is a glimmer of hope for the future.[maybe I will marry someday.]”)  Some are disturbing (“My mom killed my dad long before he killed himself.”)  No matter what the tone, each submission tells a story and gives the reader an opportunity to enter the lives of others and get a glimpse of their triumphs, treachery, humiliations, and pain.

Reader’s Annotation

If you could reveal your deepest secret anonymously, what would you say?  This is the question that runs through readers’ minds as they peruse the secrets submitted to Frank Warren as part of his PostSecret community art project.  It is impossible to read just one page of this intimate collection of secrets that one contributor claims, shows “humanity at its finest.”

Information about the author

From the author’s page on Amazon.com, we learn that “Frank Warren is a small business owner who started PostSecret.com as a community art project. Since November 2004 Warren has received more than 150,000 anonymous postcards. The website won two Webby Awards in 2006 and this year was named Weblog of the Year at the Seventh Annual Weblog Awards. The PostSecret project also received a special award from the National Mental Health Association for raising awareness and funds for suicide prevention. Warren lives in Germantown, Maryland, with his wife and daughter.”

Genre

Non-fiction, Special-Trade Fine Art

Curriculum Ties

Art, Photography, Creative Writing

Booktalking Ideas

What secrets need to be shared?

Which secret tells a story?

Reading Level / Interest Age

Grade 9 and up

Challenge Issues

Some of the PostSecret submissions deal with sexual content and dark subject matter.  To defend it, librarians and teachers could explain the therapeutic value of reading these confessions. The PostSecret project has received a special award from the National Mental Health Association for raising awareness and funds for suicide prevention.

Why did I include this title?

The first book in the series is one of our most popular books in the library.  Students are always pulling it from the shelves and flipping through the pages.  The pages give young people plenty to talk about and can be a way to discuss painful subjects that too often hurt the individual by remaining secret.

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