Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Craigslist Confessional: A Collection of Secrets from Anonymous Strangers by Helena Dea Bala


I try to read my ARCs right away but sometimes I'm not in the right mental space to read certain things. If I give a book a low rating, I've usually tried and failed to stick with it several times and just didn't see the point in finishing. CRAIGSLIST CONFESSIONAL intrigued me but the reviews warned me that it wasn't the light-hearted collection of anecdotes I'd thought it would be, so I decided to save it for a time when I was feeling pretty positive in life and could stomach it.

CRAIGSLIST CONFESSIONAL is a lot like POST SECRET for adults (if you're familiar with POST SECRET). In this book, Bala has gathered the anonymous confessionals of people talking about their dreams, secrets, hopes, and fears, as they admit to everything from sex addiction to abuse to overcoming loss of loved ones to failing to remove toxic people from their lives. Most of the stories are sad or bittersweet, which is why I wouldn't recommend this if you're already in a bad frame of mind, but there is a hurt/comfort element to some of the stories. My favorite was a woman who was able to find solace in her son's untimely death from finding out the stories of the people who received his donated organs and how he helped further their own lives.

Ultimately, I really liked the stories that were chosen and how they were divided. They are all beautifully written and cohesive (I am unsure if the author perhaps rewrote some of them or tweaked the facts to make them more uniform in format), and I found all of these slices of life fascinating. It's an interesting window into the secret lives of people you might encounter on the street, and a reminder that everyone is engaged in their own private battles. I actually really enjoyed reading these stories and they made me think deeply on some of the details from my own private life.

Definitely recommend this to anyone who is a fan of Frank Warren's POST SECRET project.

Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!

4 to 4.5 out of 5 stars

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