Telling Secrets (1991)

A Memoir

Book Description

"This is my third venture into autobiography, and I launch it on the world with the same misgivings as in the case of the earlier two. It is like telling somebody in detail how you are before they have asked the question, ‘How are you?’ Indeed, it isn't like it; it is it. But I do it anyway because I need to do it. I have called this book Telling Secrets because I have come to believe that by and large the human family all has the same secrets, which are both very telling and very important to tell. They are telling in the sense that they tell what is perhaps the central paradox of our condition—that what we hunger for perhaps more than anything else is to be known in our full humanness, and yet that is often just what we also fear more than anything else. It is important to tell at least from time to time the secret of who we truly and fully are—even if we tell it only to ourselves—because otherwise we run the risk of losing track of who we truly and fully are and little by little come to accept instead the highly edited version which we put forth in hope that the world will find it more acceptable than the real thing. It is important to tell our secrets too because it makes it easier that way to see where we have been in our lives and where we are going. It also makes it easier for other people to tell us a secret or two of their own, and exchanges like that have a lot to do with what being a family is all about and what being human is all about. Finally, I suspect that it is by entering that deep place inside us where our secrets are kept that we come perhaps closer than we do anywhere else to the One who, whether we realize it or not, is of all our secrets the most telling and the most precious we have to tell." — Frederick Buechner, in the Introduction to Telling Secrets


"Buechner speaks in a sensitive and quietly humorous voice as he describes crises in his life… Uncommonly rewarding and inspirational."
Publishers Weekly

"Telling Secrets is so riveting and tightly written that it is bound to become a classic."
National Catholic Reporter

"Very gentle, smart, unpreachy…A sensible and heartfelt message of inspiration."
Cleveland Plain Dealer

"A meditation on the connection between knowing and sharing secrets and discovering the reality of a loving and merciful God."
Chicago Tribune

"Buechner’s chronicling once again tells us something about what it means to be human."
Christianity Today