BOOKS: THEY'VE GOT A SECRET

MORE AND MORE WRITERS ARE EXPOSING THEIR PRIVATE DEMONS

BLAME IT ALL ON JEAN-JACQUES Rousseau, whose Confessions shocked 18th century France with its author's admissions of sexual masochism and other private deviancies. The great philosopher didn't just help start the French Revolution with his writings; he ushered in a publishing genre--the confessional memoir. More than 200 years later the literary form is thriving. Not just the celebrity memoir in which show-biz and sports icons "tell all" about the pain behind the fame. More recently has come a flood of what might be called just-plain-folks memoirs--intensely personal yet highly literary accounts by noncelebrities about growing up in badly disturbed families, hiding...

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