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A Lifetime of Secrets: A PostSecret Book    by Frank Warren order for
Lifetime of Secrets
by Frank Warren
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2007 (2007)
* * *   Reviewed by Belle Dessler

Over the past few years, blogs have become a driving force in our society's continual search for information. Many of them are either entertaining, factual or emotionally engaging. When a blog contains all those elements, a book is sure to follow. And when that book is a tremendous success, sequels are never far behind. Such is the case with A Lifetime of Secrets, the fourth book based on the award-winning blog.

Since the inception of in 2004, the blog's creator, Frank Warren, has challenged visitors to send in their most outrageous, painful, inspirational or touching confessions on a postcard. These postcards are often decorated in a creative manner, and they always bear the sender's most intimate secret. The result is a book - and a blog - that manages to shock, inspire and delight all at once.

A Lifetime of Secrets is thoughtfully arranged to follow a person's travels through life. The author says it best in his introduction: 'I've selected postcards that show how secrets can reveal a momentary impulse or haunt us for decades and arranged them by age to follow the common journey we all take through childhood, adolescence, adulthood, maturity. Stretched over a full lifespan, the secrets expose the meaningful ways we change over time, and the surprising ways we don't.'

The entire book is a work of art. Each postcard takes up one page (though sometimes two smaller postcards, or even the envelope the postcard came in might be shown together). All the postcards are depicted in their full, colorful glory. Nothing's been edited or removed by gathering all these postcards together and showcasing them in this manner.

Not every postcard is something you'd buy at a store. Many are hand-made out of poster paper, or words cut out of magazines pasted on top of photographs. For example, the photograph of a Wal-Mart sign on top of which someone pasted the words, 'Whenever I see an old person working here, I am afraid of my future.' Or the picture of a large and rather menacing bear, on which someone had written, 'My Mama Bear, thank you for never ever leaving me alone with him. I wish Grandma had protected you.'

There are less dramatic secrets, too, like the picture of half a grapefruit on which someone shares, 'I find a halved grapefruit to be one of the most erotic, beautiful, sensual, exquisite, disgusting, juicy, sinful, delicious, vibrant, sexual, elegant, tempting and lively gifts this world has to offer.' If only more of us hid deep, dark secrets like that one, the world might be a more peaceful place.

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