The World of PostSecret
- By Frank Warren
- William Morrow
- 288 pp.
- Reviewed by Katie Dvorak
- January 28, 2015
Confessions and confidences fill the pages of this latest installment in the popular series.
Everyone has secrets, private things they share with no one. But in 2004 one man asked strangers to anonymously share those parts of themselves with him. And they did, in droves, in the PostSecret project.
With his most recent book, The World of PostSecret, Frank Warren reveals to the world more of those confidences, most of which were written on postcards and mailed to his Maryland home.
The book follows the format of many of his others. The pages are filled with photos of those postcards, which show the range of human experience and feelings, from ultimate joy to the darkest depths of depression. The secrets are not always easy to read; some involve death and thoughts of suicide (something that led Warren to become an advocate and fundraiser for a national suicide hotline). However, there are also words of hope and light.
The secrets include words written on a colored background, words clipped out of magazines, or hand-drawn pictures. Some of those in Warren’s latest book include:
“When you were drunk you said you were going to marry me. Just ask. The answer is yes.”
“I’m really excited for the day I can unfriend you on Facebook!”
“I’m embarrassed to write ‘get out of bed’ on my to-do lists. But some days that’s as far as I get.”
“I love my boyfriend’s beer belly!”
In this full-color hardcover, Warren also includes some of his own experiences and insights from the project. He writes about the secrets that most moved and surprised him; how the project started; and what knowing and sharing so many secrets means to him.
He also includes an essay about the controversial PostSecret app, which premiered in fall 2011. It allowed anyone to upload their secrets and have them instantly viewable to others with the app. However, it became too much work for Warren and his team of volunteers when obscenity-spewing trolls made the app “no longer a safe place to share secrets.” It was shut down just three months after its creation.
Additional writings from Warren and others who shared in the project might have strengthened the book, especially if it is Warren’s last, as he suggests in the introduction. But PostSecret is, and always has been, not about the author, but about everyone with secrets to share.
Warren writes in the book’s introduction that he, like Willy Wonka, is ready to hand over the keys and allow PostSecret a second life. It remains to be seen if anyone is worthy to take the reins.
Katie Dvorak is the Independent’s social-media director.