Pulse: 60-Second Critic: Nonfiction: Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure

Can a story be told in six words? Legend has it Hemingway rose to the challenge


Can a story be told in six words? Legend has it Hemingway rose to that challenge with “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” Moorestown native and Penn grad Larry Smith, editor of the online magazine that bears his surname, applies the six-word idea to the memoir, getting dozens of people — including Joan Rivers, Nora Ephron and Deepak Chopra — to crank out half-dozen-word versions of their lives. Many are forgettable, but a good number conjure up both a story line and a worldview — from Po Bronson (“Stole wife. Lost friends. Now happy.”) to Stephen Colbert (“Well, I thought it was funny.”). Six-word review: Buy it, keep it in bathroom. B

Edited by SMITH Magazine, (Harper Perennial; $12)