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Telling Secrets [Paperback]

Frederick Buechner
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 10 1992
With eloquence, candor, and simplicity, a celebrated author tells the story of his father's alcohol abuse and suicide and traces the influence of this secret on his life as a son, father, husband, minister, and writer.

Frequently Bought Together

Telling Secrets + Sacred Journey + Now And Then
Price For All Three: CDN$ 36.07

  • Sacred Journey CDN$ 12.26
  • Now And Then CDN$ 11.55

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

In the third volume of his autobiography ( The Sacred Journey ; Now and Then ) Buechner speaks in a sensitive and quietly humorous voice as he describes crises in his life: the suicide of his father when the author was 10; the anorexia of his teenaged daughter. Details of other demanding situations, less critical, provoke merriment as well as thought. As a lecturer at a Unitarian Universalist divinity school, Buechner encountered atheistic students preparing for the ministry, along with a feminist who opposed studying King Lear because the drama features women in subservient roles. In a book that stands out as uncommonly rewarding and inspirational, the author convinces us that secrets kept buried can cause harm.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

A father's suicide and a daughter's anorexia exemplify the sort of secret that radically modifies an individual and, in turn, can be modified by being told. The fiction of noted theologian/novelist Buechner ( A Long Day's Dying, LJ 1/1/50) has been called "psychological." His nonfiction, too (including Whistling in the Dark, LJ 7/88) explores his comprehension of the soul rather than exhorting. This slim memoir does well what Buechner has become noted for doing: showing with subtlety the stark nature of being one thinking being among many. His prescription for the church to look at Alcoholics Anonymous for a modern model is compelling. This minister is not preaching to the converted but can attract the ears--and hearts--of any reader interested in acknowledging the spiritual aspect of human nature. For most collections.
-Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley P.L., Cal.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
One November morning in 1936 when I was ten years old, my father got up early, put on a pair of gray slacks and a maroon sweater, opened the door to look in briefly on my younger brother and me, who were playing a game in our room, and then went down into the garage where he turned on the engine of the family Chevy and sat down on the running board to wait for the exhaust to kill him. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Act of Love Sept. 20 2003
"I not only have my secrets, I am my secrets. And you are your secrets. Our secrets are human secrets, and our trusting each other enough to share them with each other has much to do with the secret of what it is to be human."
In Telling Secrets, Buechner does just that. He tells the details of his most intimate life. He tells of his struggles and his tortuous search for answers to life. And Buechner finds some answers. He finds that so much of the secret of live is to love and to love means being able to lay bare that core of our being, that soul with the "print of God's thumb still intact." And this book is just that. In an tremendous act of love, Buechner is baring his most essential soul and allowing the reader to connect and learn.
It's difficult for me to express how much I love this book. It is short, but each page holds enough wisdom to fill volumes. Telling Secrets is a book that has earned a prestigious spot on my bedstand where I can reach it easily the times I need it most.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars powerful Dec 9 2000
In this little reflective book, Buechner shows us the importance of recollection... the redeeming quality of memory. As in all of his autobiographical work, Buechner is remarkably transparent and honest. Whether or not you have enjoyed his fiction, (and I have) I believe there is something here for us all to relate to and identify with. Two passages in the book are very TELLING as they apply to the SECRETS that we all have: Firstly, "We cannot undo our old mistakes or their consequences any more than we can erase old wounds that we have both suffered and inflicted, but through the power that memory gives us of thinking, feeling, imagining our way back through time we can at long last finally finish with the past in the sense of removing its power to hurt us and other people and to stunt our growth as human beings." Secondly, "It is through memory that we are able to reclaim much of our lives that we have long since written off by finding that in everything that has happened to us over the years God was offering us possibilities of new life and healing which, though we may have missed them at the time, we can still choose and be brought to life by and healed by all these years later."
Reading the first two books in the memoir series (The Sacred Journey and Now And Then) are not prerequisites to enjoying this one, for its message is self-contained. But if you start here, you'll want to look into the others.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enabling Truth to Heal Sept. 9 2003
This book is a must-read for anyone who counsels, ministers and teaches others, because it is a soul searching quest for truth. The author reveals the painful and heretofore submerged past of his childhood, and with each revelation or insight, he is one step closer to healing. Thus we are encouraged to do the same - to relinquish secrets that cause guilt and pain is a necessary step to healing. The writing style flows as though we are witness to the author's personal journal, yet the story is amplified so that we the reader can appreciate the lessons he learned from life experiences. A refreshing aside to the book is the author's vulnerability in re-opening certain wounds and through faith is finally able to release and heal. We too are encouraged to let go and let God!
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5.0 out of 5 stars In his classic form, Buechner delivers challenge! June 12 1999
By A Customer
I first read this book in 1994, and have re-read it numerous times since. Buechner leads the way in challenging us all to share the secrets of our lives only known to self and God, knowing that "maybe nothing is more important than that we keep track, you and I, of these stories of who we are and where we have come from and the people we have met along the way because it is precisely these stories in all their particularity, as I have long believed and often said, that God makes himself known to each of us most powerfully and personally." (p. 30). We all have secrets. Buechner picks up the gauntlet of boldness in breaking the prison of silence, only to find freedom and forgiveness waiting on the other side of the prison doors. My margin note summarizes the message of this book best: "telling secrets + forgiveness = peace!
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