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Craigslist Confessional: A Collection of Secrets from Anonymous Strangers

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  1,708 ratings  ·  446 reviews
It started with a single personal ad on Craigslist: tell me about yourself. Dea Bala never expected the outpouring of responses that would follow. She was working as a lobbyist when the idea was born: she'd chat up respondents on the phone or at a coffee shop and let them tell her about their lives. Dea Bala soon had to quit her day job to make time for all of the Craigsli ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published July 7th 2020 by Gallery Books
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Average rating 3.69  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,708 ratings  ·  446 reviews

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Aug 02, 2020 rated it it was ok
I promise I'm not an insensitive person and I give the people who contributed their stories 5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and sincerely hope for the best for them.

My rating reflects the moral responsibility of the author that I feel she ignored.

I paid over $16 (𝙠𝙚𝙧-𝙘𝙝𝙞𝙣𝙜) for this eBook and I was surprised to learn that none of the money from sales goes to a charity or 𝙚𝙫𝙚𝙣 𝙩𝙤 𝙩𝙝𝙤𝙨𝙚 𝙬𝙝𝙤 𝙨𝙝𝙖𝙧𝙚𝙙 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙞𝙧 𝙥𝙚𝙧𝙨𝙤𝙣𝙖𝙡 𝙨𝙩𝙤𝙧𝙞𝙚𝙨. The author put on an ad promising just to listen without judgement, then promptly used the misfortu
Jul 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Deanna by: Dita
Shelves: audiobooks, 2020

4.5 Stars!!

I HAD to check this out after reading the reviews from my GR friends, Dita and Nazanin. Both of them rated it highly and after listening to it last night, I completely agree.

I love books about secrets. So a book about real secrets? Well, that's even better. These stories pulled so many different emotions out of me. Some stories had me fuming while others definitely had me reaching for the tissues. Some of them hit very close to home.

Stories about addiction, abuse, sexuality, love,
Jul 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Elle by: Kristen (kraysbookclub)
Shelves: author-is-nice, 2020
I don’t often revisit my reviews after I’ve written them, and I’ve never posted any like this before, but I do feel like there’s some extenuating circumstances in this case. So instead I’ve replaced my initial review with this message I sent to another Goodreads member who I believe has helped spread some misinformation about both Craigslist Confessional and the author, Helena Dea Bala. Some portions have been edited for clarity or to remove identifying information.

Dear potential reader,

I agree
Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell
I am basically the nosiest person EVER so this is like feeding cocaine to an addict

Jun 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow, this book is heavy on my heart. If you need a book to put things into perspective right now while dealing with COVID-19, like me, this book will help you realize that your struggles and pain are valid. I could not put this book down because the stories really gripped me from chapter one. Dealing with drugs, alcoholism, sexuality, gender, marriage, religion, Craigslist Confessional is a deeply profound dialogue between Helena Dea Bala and various people who she's interviewed through Crai ...more
Jul 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020, favorites
5 Stars

Craigslist Confession contains very short stories and they all actually did happen. I don’t think if I read a true story before, so this was a very good experience. Not all of them were pleasant but life isn’t always what we want it to be. Some of the stories left me heartbroken. I wanted to reach out to those people and comfort them. Some of them made me so mad, some sad, some made me happy, and seeing that you still can have hope even in the worst situations was so good! Some of them ma
Jul 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
I received an advanced copy of this book from Net Galley and the publisher in return for an honest review. The release date for this book is 7 July 2020

I found most of the stories captured in this book to be quite compelling. Some of them dealt with very difficult topics and the author really captured the authenticity of the stories that were being told to her. I think it is extremely important for us to read things in the non-fiction genre that take us outside our realm of experience. . This is
Audiobook - 5+++ stars available on Scribd.

Story - ???

I am going to leave this unrated. I don't even know how i feel about these stories, they are depressing AF. Damn! i felt like i was reading someone's deepest, diary secrets without the juicy parts. It has all the trigger warnings, the problem is that, it is not fiction. I can take all of them in fiction when i know there will be a resolution somehow.

I kinda want the author to do a follow up with these guys, i want to know more about some of
Lyn❤Loves❤Listening #AUDIOBOOKADDICT
Audio – 5++++ Stars
Story – 5 Deeply Emotional Stars

Real talk…this book isn’t going to give you the warm and fuzzies. The fact that these are true stories labeled as anonymous confessionals should clue you in to that. I will admit that listening to the audio was depressing at times, and I questioned why the heck I couldn’t stop listening to it. All I could come up with is that there were so many bits and pieces of the different stories that I could relate too. Either through my own life experienc
Jul 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
LOVED THIS! Helena Dea Bala was feeling completely unfulfilled and down about her career and life. After speaking to a homeless man, she was inspired to post an ad on Craigslist stating that she would listen to people's confessions, stories, problems, thoughts, etc... completely anonymously. With consent, she began to take notes on the conversations and record them for this book. I was completely enthralled with this book, and it made me feel lots of emotions. It was like peaking into another pe ...more
Callous Callie, here to report that I didn’t grab a tissue one time while reading these (mostly sad) stories. Well, I lie—I did, once, but that was because I had to wipe the fingerprints off my Kindle screen. Of course I felt empathy for the people who were getting a raw deal, but I was nowhere near tears. I simply can’t understand how everyone loved this book.

What’s this book about? It’s non-fiction. The backstory is that an attorney quit her day job and talked to a homeless person. She suppose
Meredith B.  (readingwithmere)
5 Stars!

How do you rate a collection of stories told by complete strangers to another stranger? Well it's hard to. However, the way that Helena (the author) captured the stories and hand picked each one so that everyone who reads this can relate and feel some emotion towards at least one story in here is why it's rated so high.

The stories in this book are grouped into: Love, Regret, Loss, Identity and Family. Each one has their own unique story to tell and somewhere along the line, you can't hel
Jul 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Karla by: Nazanin
5 amazing stars**

I don’t even know what to say after reading this book! It was so amazing, raw, vulnerable, heartbreaking, basically all the emotions you can think of I experienced. The way the author structure this stories was brilliant! She took the heart of each situation and considering the serious of each subject matter it was a feat, because some of this situations were so heartbreaking especially for ones I related to. Those were the ones that got to me that made me think, yea, that’s exa
This is a collection of experiences that are affirming and painful and vulnerable in their intimacy. They’re hopeful, too, though not always.

I am grateful that they have been shared. I am honoured to have heard them.

I don’t usually give star ratings to memoir/autobiographical works if I have mixed feelings, because I don’t feel like I’m in a position to render judgment on others’ experiences, nor do I wish to. And I don’t want a star rating to be conflated with judgment, quantification.

For this
Tucker  (TuckerTheReader)
Feb 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, nonfiction
I definitely feel like I missed the point of this book. I feel as though there is some deeper message or theme that went right over my head because, though I hate to admit it, sometimes, I don't get things.

It is also possible that I am overthinking all of this and this is just a book.

Either way, I did enjoy this book. It was sad but hopeful. It was a perfect display of humanity. I was expecting to be shocked by stories of gore, drugs, and sex but instead, I was met with stories of regret, sadne
Janelle Janson
Jul 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020, nonfiction
Review to come
Carrie | Boston Book Fanatic
Jul 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites

If I had to sum up my thoughts on this book with gifs (and I do because, I mean, duh), it would be these ones:

Have you ever read a book that instantly made you want to get to know the author? This book was that for me. Helena Dea Bala was working as a lobbyist in DC and feeling unfulfilled when one day she struck up a conversation with a homeless man who panhandled near her office. Talking to and sharing with this stranger made her feel connected and engaged in a way th
Laura Peden
Jul 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
WOW 🤩 I had no idea how badly I needed this book in my life. It’s raw and filled to the brim with vulnerability. Ok I’m not as eloquent as some you so bear with me here...the author, a former lobbyist in Washington, decides to place an Ad on Craigslist, offering to listen, anonymously & for free, to whatever the person felt they couldn’t tell anyone else. A way to unburden oneself. It took off, she was flooded with emails and Craigslist Confessional was born. There are 40 confessions in the book ...more
Sep 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, audio
This was pretty addicting to listen too!

I am glad that Helena Dea Bala decided to put this collection together. She decides to do take this journey after having a life changing circumstance with a homeless man.

I came across this book from multiple friends on Goodreads that reviewed this in the past. I was fascinated by the idea of the book because...

1. I love podcasts and listening to people being open about their lives. There's something liberating about that along with it being cathartic for t
Jul 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Craiglist Confessional is a collection of anonymous stories from strangers. Helen Dea Bala was a Washington, DC lobbyist – just like many, had a life unfulfilled and drowning in student loans. A chance encounter with a homeless man who lent his ear to listen to Bala, changed everything and inspired her to start listening to others anonymously. An ad in Craigslist resulted in thousands of responses to share their stories, whom they could not tell anyone else – free of judgement, free of charge an ...more
Chandra Claypool (WhereTheReaderGrows)
I read the introduction and already knew. So I grabbed a box of Kleenex, a bottle of whiskey and settled in to pay close attention to these pages for the next few hours.

This is split into 5 categories: Love, Regret, Loss, Identity, and Family. And I found a little of myself in each of these categories. The author listened to a cornucopia of humans and it was hard to read some of these very human revelations. It's one thing to read these types of experiences in a fictionalized tale... it's compl
Mindy Brouse
Aug 15, 2020 rated it did not like it
Ok. Strong opinion and unusual review coming your way.
I read over half of this book and normally don’t review DNFs. But I think this one needs it. I pushed to chapter 25 to be sure I was over halfway.
I hated this book. It’s not encouraging, helpful, or useful. I don’t trust the author when she says she didn’t plan for this to be a book. She quit her job to focus on this project and did so for two years and started writing the stories down. She is making money of the people who needed someone t
Aug 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
I loved this book, it was everything I thought it was going to be!
40 stories ranging from mental illness, sexual abuse, poverty, etc these stories were gripping and raw and so many of them I wanted to know so much more about. They broke my heart and I felt myself immersed in each story.
Short chapters and it’s broken down by category but it is heavy reading!
I hope there is a Craigslist Confessional part 2!
Basic B's Guide
Jun 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Craigslist Confessional

There are a few big moments in my life when I’ve been reminded how much pain people carry around with them. I see people get angry on the road, yelling at a complete stranger on the street and crying in the checkout lines at a grocery store and I wonder what’s going on that has them in this state. Its easy to be annoyed and impatient but when we stop and think that maybe this person is struggling, we can take the opportunity to maybe lend a hand or smile when someone reall
May 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
If you could share a powerful, forbidden secret with a complete stranger with no fear of reprisal. . . would you? And if many, many people share secrets so big, so huge, what might those stories look like? Well this book is exactly that. A confessional.

I ate this book up like candy! It is incredible how powerful an admission is, knowing you won't be found out. I think Bala had an incredibly unique idea, to post an ad on Craigslist, allowing anyone who would want to contact her. Some people truly
Kelly Long
Jan 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing this book in exchange for an honest review.
This book caught my attention pretty quickly and the author's 'project" intrigued me but I was hesitant to get it. I was expecting a lot of fairly shallow stories but I was pleasantly surprised to read some very deep, sad stories. Occasionally there was a pretty shallow story but overall, there was real depth to people's experiences. I can't imagine how hard it was for the author to hear sad story
Apr 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: net-galley
If you enjoy Post Secret and Humans of New York you will love this. This book albeit depressing was an entertaining view into a forty different peoples lives and their lifechanging incidents broke into 5 sections. Since the sections are so short it's hard to "disappear" into the book.. ...more
May 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing

*ARC provided via #netgalley ⁣

I’ve always been a huge fan of the “Post Secret” website and book collection, and this book reminded me so much of that, yet it also brought a deeper sense of commiseration for me as a reader.⁣
Unlike the brief secrets that are mailed in, the author collected her stories after placing an ad on Craigslist, first receiving them by email and then bravely meeting the subjects in person. Over time, she realizes that she has become a sort of therapist for these strangers,
Kristen (kraysbookclub)
Jul 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Craigslist Confessional made me weep, grieve, remember, and ache for all of the heartbreak, trauma and understanding that life is just damn hard. The overarching theme of “you’re never alone” has never rang more true.
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“And I discovered, too, that people needed to talk. Not to converse, not to get advice, not to have a clever repartee. They needed to get things off their chests. Truly, to vent.” 1 likes
“I'm still here; I got your back. If you're falling, I'm here to catch you. But I want to know what branches you tried to reach for on your way down. I want to know that you tried to help yourself.” 0 likes
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