The Skeleton Code: A Satirical Guide to Secret Keeping
by Alla Campanella and Ken Massey
File Size: 1868 KB
Print Length: 230 pages
Publisher: Morgan James Publishing (October 25, 2016)
Genre: Satire, Self Help
My Rating: 3.75 of 5.0
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Early in life, we learn to exaggerate our positive personal qualities and hide or deny our failures and weaknesses. The Skeleton Code is a satirical and humorous look at the many ways we protect our public personas by closeting our personal secrets, an ultimately self-deluding way of life. As a parody of the self-help “success” genre, the book presents facetious strategies about how to cover up our silly and scandalous secrets before turning to The Skeleton Cure.
I had to keep reminding myself this was satire. And as satire, for 80% of the book, the authors do a very good job. Alla Campanella and Ken Massey rightly note that almost everyone has skeletons in their closets – secrets we just don’t share. But then we worry about keeping those secrets from popping out, or being found out or outed by someone else. The authors are careful to provide a disclaimer that they are not promoting immoral, unethical or illegal behavior. They then proceed to present several chapters of tricks for protecting your secrets: dressing for diversion, mimicking the masters, taking the offensive. There are several chapters sharing methods to encourage fear and help prepare a response in the event of exposure, either accidental or purposeful. There can be an art in self disclosure that minimizes the potential for negative impact. The authors provide a fitting quote from Sidney Poitier: “I know how easy it is for one to stay well within moral, ethical, and legal bounds through the skillful use of words—and to thereby spin, sidestep, circumvent, or bend a truth completely out of shape.” The authors also do a nice job of summarizing the techniques and testing the progress of the reader.
I really had difficulty sticking through this to the end. I knew it is satire but that didn’t help stop my feeling that what they were describing was somewhat ‘slimy’. Still, it just didn’t feel right or good and I didn’t want to read it. This made me feel like when I stop reading a book because the language used is just too foul – it makes me feel uncomfortable and unhappy.
I knew there was a better message but that isn’t shared until the last two chapters. The closing points note that hiding secrets may cause physical pain as well as emotional illness. It is healthier to uncover the secrets, face them and remove the skeleton from your life. This did make me feel better. The closing remarks reminded me of the Transactional Analysis course I took in my late twenties which featured resource books like I’m Ok - You’re Ok and Games People Play.
The book is well written and laid out in an easy to follow fashion. I think the authors’ introduction tried to reassure the reader that the ultimate message was positive… and it is. I just think there could be more positive ways to present the message. This one wasn’t real comfortable for me but could be very useful for the right people, right situation.
I received this title from ProBook Marketing through iRead Book Tours for an honest review. Please watch the video below for a positive view of the book. Also, see other reader/reviewer thoughts on the Blog Tour found here. This qualifies for my 2017 TBR Challenge.
Alla Campanella, after traveling throughout the world, has lived in the US since 1992. A longtime student of the arts and humanities, she enjoys her work as an artist and photographer. Alla was inspired to write this book because she heard so many personal and painful secrets from her clients about their failures and foibles and wanted them to face these realities rather than hide from them.
Ken Massey talking about The Skeleton Code to WTVR CBS 6 News. This is a great interview summarizing the book well.