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I Can't Keep My Own Secrets: Six-Word Memoirs by Teens Famous & Obscure

(Six-Word Memoirs)

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  1,233 ratings  ·  243 reviews
From the editors of the international phenomenon and New York Times bestseller Not Quite What I Was Planning comes a collection of six-word memoirs created by and for teens.

From cancer to creativity, prom dates to promiscuity, and breaking hearts to breaking laws, the memoirs in this collection reveal that often the youngest writers have the most fascinating stories to tel
Paperback, 182 pages
Published September 1st 2009 by HarperTeen
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3.98  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,233 ratings  ·  243 reviews

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Jan 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-nonfiction
The title captures what the book is about, but it doesn't prepare you for the loss, humor, passion, and longing expressed by teens-- six words at a time.

One favorite, "I never got my Hogwarts letter."

*sigh* Me, neither.
Nov 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Some of these were very surprising to me. And they probably shouldn't have been. But a few were a lot more well written than the ones by any of the adults.
Jackie "the Librarian"
I was not a happy teenager. I was miserable, starting seventh grade at a new school, not knowing anyone, with acne. Life has only gotten better since then. If you had to write a memoir of your life in six words, what would you say? How much of yourself would you reveal? Written by teens, these six-word memoirs open a little window into the lives of these teenagers, ranging from the banality of high school life to really dark stuff. Reading this makes me SO glad not to be a teenager anymore. Not ...more
Oct 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Could you write a memoir using six words? I'm not sure I could. What would I say about myself in six words? At first it seems simple and it could be it - I can say a lot about myself in six words depending on the day and my mood. But to say something meaningful or important, that takes time and thought - every word needs to count. That is what this book is about. 600 six word memoirs written by teens ages 13 to 19. Some memoirs are simple and fun. I laughed when I read this one "I seriously love ...more
Eden Bissell
Mar 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book is just what it says: teenagers describe their lives in six words. It wasn't beautiful, I can't call it that, because while some parts were in fact beautiful, other parts were ugly. I think that's why I liked it so much. It was so honest. And the ugly mixed with the beautiful is such an accurate portrayal of life. I do not advise reading this book unless you have a copy that you can mark in. I went through with a highlighter and marked it up, writing question marks next to the more amb ...more
Jan 25, 2010 rated it it was ok
I guess six-word memoirs are all the rage right now. Most of these ones by teenagers are pretty much what you'd expect--melodramatic, confessional, self-important. They're about school, love, sex, parents, expectations, not fitting in. There is a hilarious index in the back of the book: my favorite entry is "namecalling." I don't know why I was so amused by that; I guess because it's kind of an antiquated term.

Several were rather lovely and mysterious ("I'm deaf, but she can't hear"; "I can't lo
Jan 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult-nf
Great, it is 6 word memoirs from teens. Excellent for book talking to all agees of teens! Here are jsut a few.

Five elementary schools and two obituaries.

Hung myself.
Sister found me.

I wish "sir" was "dad" instead.

Homecoming King with a septum ring.

Read "lord of the Flies". Threw up.

Defined by numbers:

Am a ballerina, still totally clumsy.

I miss all my imaginary friends.

Praying that "adulthood" does not mean "amnesia"

Nov 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is so pure and meaningfull, just this kind of book that can be a great inspiration when you‘re running out of ideas. So powerful! Definitley gonna read the other parts!!
Jul 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book is a collection of humor, sass, and anguish. We start off with a 6 word memoir by none other than Ernest Hemingway “For sale: baby shoes, never worn”. It was a perfect starting point and a challenge to every other teen to mimic Hemmingway’s short story. How much of the truth can you hide in just 6 words? A lot it seems.

Contemplated joining the circus. Foolishly chose college—Sally C.

My dad has more MySpace friends—Darlye J.

These are just two 6-word memoirs that popped out for me. This
Nov 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I've adored SMITH Mag's six-word memoirs for a while, and last fall they launched to collect material for a new book written entirely by teenagers. In one year, more than 65,000 memoirs have been posted. The site is worth visiting daily for intense, from-the-heart writing. Founding Editor Larry Smith calls the teens who've submitted memoirs "honest and brave and funny and intense and awesome."

That's pretty much how we feel about the book that has come out of these submissions, I C
Ms. Wood
May 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
These six-word memoirs are sometimes hilarious, sometimes tragic, but always powerful. Here are some favorites from amongst the 800 in the collection:

"Met online; love before first sight."
"Hair's pink to piss you off."
"I fulfilled my awkwardness quota today."
"I'm seventeen, engaged, and not pregnant."
"My mom had my boyfriend deported."
"Late for school every single day."
"According to Facebook, we broke up."

Listen to the editor explain the book and read a few six-word memoirs at http://www.teachi
Jun 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, teen
I LOVE this book, hilarious and heartbreaking, I want to write my own six word memoir now. I will definitely take this on outreaches and have teens write their own six word memoirs, maybe I could even turn it into a program at the library or do it for a teen tuesday activity. I can't believe six words can say so much...
Mrs. Schatz
Jan 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone!!!!
Wow!! What an amazing book and I'm soooo envious that people can sum up their feelings/life in 6 words. I wonder how long it took some of them. Some of the memoirs are funny, silly, poignant, gut-wrenching, and weary. A must read!!! I think our students should do this and I compile it into a notebook of some kind.
Shayne Bauer
Oct 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What a refreshing read! This little gem is a collection of teens' six-word memoirs. It's fun to go through them to get a quick glance at teen life; however, several pieces gave me chills and made me linger a bit. This book reminds us that some teens are torn apart by their daily lives. Their words are so powerful.
Aug 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing

#sixword nya ada yang tragis, sedih, miris, satir, lucu... tapi bagus. bikin merenung dan tertawa.

habis baca ini langsung mencoba buat sixword juga tapi nggakbisa wqwq
Kara Belden
Nov 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Laughed and cried in one sitting!
Ashley Reid
Great quick read, some are interesting. :)
Nov 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Stories can be brief and powerful.
Bonnie Chen
Jan 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This was one of the best books I ever read. This book kept my mind thinking and analyzing each six word memoirs.This book is composed of many six word memoirs, written by all different authors. Each memoir has its own story-happy,miserable,heartbreaking and so forth. Although the stories are not clear, the 6 word memoirs allowed me to creatively come up with a possible scenario that fits the 6 word memoir.On the other hand, some memoirs are really clear to me and I can relate to them. For exampl ...more
Mar 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya-i-read
This book is a fast read, and you might be tempted to think of it as "fluff" that has no meaning-- until you actually pick it up and delve into it. Smith magazine invited readers to sum up their lives in six words--no more, no less-- and the results are a glimpse into the hearts and minds of teen from every walk of life. If you care about even one teenager, you'll want to read this book.
Major Characters:
With 600 different authors, there are no characters that stand apart except the unspecified
Oct 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
A newspaper asked teens to write their life's story, but using only six words. Those stories were all published in this book. 'I Can't Keep my own Secrets' is the inspiring stories of over 300 people. It proves that you don't need a whole book to tell a powerful story. This book is filled with tales of hardship, secrets, and teenage drama. I enjoyed this book because I found it interesting to read about more than just one person. It's interesting to sort of get to know a person, when you've onl ...more
The Dreamer Reader
It's a firework show of awesome!

The Good: This is my first anthology and it totally sky rocketed through my expectations.

Some made me want to track down these people and just give them a huge hug. Some made my day a whole lot brighter and better. Some really hit the nail on the head, made me think, "Damn straight!", and give them a huge round of applause. Some just made me snort milk out my nose because they were hilarious!

But, what all of them did was make me feel less alone.

The Bad: It may be
This book is filled by six word quotes about 600 different teens.

This was a fast and fun little book. At times making you laugh and other times making your eyes well up. Who knew that 6 words could say so much.

Some of my favorites:

"Laughed at all the wrong moments." -Kierra B.

"I never got my Hogwarts letter." -Deanna H.

"The Beatles really said it all." -Mary Kate C.

"Holden caught me in the rye." -Brittany F.

"I lost more than my innocence." -Angela G.

I don't know if I would recommend you buying i
Nicole Hornyak
Jun 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Kind of in awe about reading all of the six-word memoirs in this book. I didn't know how only six words can express something so powerful in a persons life. Some of them were cute, well-played, happy, deep, and strong in wording. Some of them made my stomach drop because they were so good and/or so deep. I think poetry is a good mechanism to let it all out when you don't want to, especially for teenagers when they have a lot of changes going on with their lives. And these six-word memoirs were w ...more
Mar 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
This collection of six word memoirs written by teens touches on subjects of love, loss, friendship, identity, beauty, and everything in between.
The mood of the memoirs range anywhere from deeply sad or contemplative to comical and quirky. They are written in a variety of fonts and styles and some include artwork created by the teens. It is surprising how much power can be packed into six words and these teens know how to wield it. It is indexed and can be a good source for interesting quotes fr
Mar 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
I was a bit weary of teen memoirs, afraid they were going to be too angsty for my 30+ self, but some were quite fun and/or insightful.

My favorites:
Aspiration: colonize Mars. You're not invited.
Not enough room in the margins.
I'm just a simple human. Being.
Note to all boys: I quit.
The fireworks were gone by then.
Life's full of "awkward turtle" moments.
I want to launch a filibuster.
I'm an Etch A Sketch, shaking.

And ditto Becky's favorites:
I never got my Hogwarts letter.
The exits were ent
More six-word memoirs, this time entirely by authors ages 13-19. I read bits of the introduction to booktalk this, then some selections. My personal favorites (and BTW, the "famous" teens wrote really bad ones):

I just want to feel infinite.
I will be that cat lady.
I never got my Hogwarts letter.
My status messages are about you.
The exits were entrances in disguise.
Take me back to swings, fireflies.
Childhood fantasy: Living in a library.
He only knew one word: meh.
I am in a love pentagon.
I was born
Jul 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
My thoughts: When I received this I had heard nothing but honestly I was intrigued. It was so unique and insightful! These teens were able to grasp so many aspects in teen lives these days within 6 words. Some made me smile while others made me sad. A couple even brought tears to my eyes. Go buy yourself a copy when it comes out. I LOVED IT!

Recommendation: Anyone who wants a refreshing quick book with a real insight into teen minds.

Listening to: Fearless (Taylor Swift) Mad (NeYo)
Jul 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 832-ya
I think everyone should read this book; it is a quick read, but gives one a glimpse into the reality of hundreds of teens' lives. Inspired by the story that Ernest Hemingway was asked to write a six-word story (which ended up being “For sale: baby shoes, never worn”) this is a collection of six-word memoirs written by teenagers. Poignant, funny, thought-provoking. Apparently there are other similar six-word memoir books out there, which I plan to investigate.
Jun 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This was so awesome! I am amazed at the way the teens touched my heart in just six words. This book made me think about my own life and what six words I would use for my memoir. All of the memoirs in this book were creative. Some made me smile and other made me want to cry. What six words would you use for your life?
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YA Reads for Teac...: May 2013 - YA Nonfiction - I Can't Keep My Own Secrets by Larry Smith 11 21 Jun 01, 2013 07:37PM  
What do your teens think? 1 12 Jul 24, 2009 11:21AM  

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Six-Word Memoirs (8 books)
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  • One life. 6 words, what's yours? : six-word memoirs from Smith magazine
  • Oy! Only Six? Why Not More? Six-Word Memoirs on Jewish Life
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“I never got my Hogwarts letter. - Deanna H.” 4 likes
“I live bigger than your labels.
-Samantha N.”
More quotes…