Monday, March 12, 2007

My Secret: A PostSecret Book, by Frank Warren

My Secret is Frank Warren's second collection of PostSecret postcards. To give a quick overview of what this is all about - PostSecret is described as a "community art project" where strangers mail Warren a postcard with a very personal secret which they have never shared with anyone before. The Postcard is typically decorated with some sort of artwork that describes the secret being sent. Every Sunday Warren posts them on his PostSecret blog, but he has also published three collections of the postcards. My Secret: A PostSecret Book is the second of the three collections.

What is first notable about My Secret is that it is quite a bit smaller than PostSecret: Extraordinary Confessions from Ordinary Lives. Without measuring or weighing the book, I would suggest that My Secret is approximately half the size. What this means is that there is far less content for your dollar.

The second thing to point out is that some of these postcards may have been recycled from the first volume. I have not confirmed this by comparing the two books side by side, but some of the postcards were suspiciously familiar. If some of them were not reused, they are very similar to the postcards of volume one with mostly the same content.

This may come across as a knock on My Secret, and in a sense it is, but if we look at My Secret as an individual volume standing alone, the second complaint falls away. My Secret is a collection of some funny and heartbreaking secrets that anyone may have sent in. Considering the volume of postcards Warren has received, any of our neighbors may have a postcard on the website or in a book at any given time. This is what is special about the PostSecret project and in turn about each of the collections. Reading these collections tells the reader that he or she is not alone, that other people have felt this way and that the painful experience is not unique and this can be a way to heal. Reading these collections shows us that we all have something extraordinary about us that our friends and family may never guess. While it is the painful ones which may be most remarkable, there are also funny and happy and silly secrets.

It is ultimately impossible to separate My Secret from the other collections and from the PostSecret project as a whole, so I will close by saying this: My Secret is not as strong of a collection as the first volume. It is smaller and somewhat weaker. But, with that said, it is still worth the half hour or and hour which it will take to go through all of the secrets and get a glimpse into the lives of others, and in turn into ourselves.

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