Monday, May 7, 2012

I Can't Keep My Own Secrets

Everyone reading this is probably familiar with six-words memoirs, made famous by Ernest Hemingway with the immortal, "For sale: baby shoes, never worn." Smith Magazine has challenged teens to write their own
six-word memoirs, and their responses are beautiful, heartbreaking, funny, and ridiculous, just like teenagers. I Can't Keep My Own Secrets is a quick read, yet many of the lines will continue to resonate after readers have put it down.

While there are plenty of lighthearted memoirs, the provocative ones are the heart of the book. In six words, these teens manage to express volumes. Some examples that touched me:
"I can't look at babies anymore." - Evie S.
"I walked on eggshells; they cracked." - Katie N.
"The exits were entrances in disguise." - Shannon B.
"In the nest, twigs are sharp." - Justin M.

and my personal favorite, "I traded my bricks for straw." - Laney F.

As a teacher, I am excited by the ways this book could be incorporated into my own classroom, from having my students write their own memoirs, writing them for characters we are reading about, and even just decorating the bathroom stalls with the inspiring words of talented teenagers.
Check out the book trailer and then pick up I Can't Keep My Own Secrets.


  1. I need to replace my copy of this collection. It invariable walks off the shelf, sometimes never t return. I love having my 8th graders write their own six-word memoirs, too.

  2. Teenage angst is perfectly captured in six words!


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