Memoirs and My Love-Hate Relationship With Them

I read a lot of books.  And I keep it all organized on Goodreads.com, mainly because my OCD mind likes to organize things and keep lists of them.  It makes me feel good about the world.

On said website, I like to read what other people have written about books I might like to read.  I mainly read science fiction and memoirs, which I know is a crazy mix, but it is what it is.  So I was reading some reviews, and I came across this snippet, which I thought was so great, I wanted to share.  Also I wanted to keep it near me so that I can always go back to it and laugh.

Written by “Oriana” on Goodreads.com in regards to I Love Yous are for White People:

I’ve talked about the memoir continuum before, right? If I had graphics skills and wasn’t exhausted I’d draw a picture or or (sic) something, but basically there’s two poles, one called “has a life interesting enough to warrant writing a memoir” and the other called “is capable of writing well enough to describe that life in a way that doesn’t make you want to stab yourself in the eye.” Somewhere else I gave examples for the four resulting categories (unique life + good writing; unique life + bad writing; boring life + good writing; boring life + bad writing). I’m not doing that again.

I think this is brilliant. I kind of want to go back through all the memoirs I have ever read and rate them:  Angela’s Ashes = unique life + good writing; Just Checking = boring life + bad writing.  I could go on and on here, seriously people.

But this is exactly why I have a love-hate relationship with memoirs.  There is that one memoir that is so good, so true, so poignant, so clear, it makes you want to be friends with that person, it makes you want to cry and laugh and play with that person.  And then…..well, there’s the rest.

Publishers have realized that people will pay money to read memoirs, and with that being said, have decided to give anyone with two brains cells and words on paper a publishing deal.  There are some real doosies out there.  I guess I just can’t stand it when I pick up a memoir, start reading and find myself thinking, “Wow, this person’s life is more boring than mine!  Why would I want to read about it?” I really hate it when I don’t learn anything, or more importantly when the author doesn’t learn anything.  I think the point of a good story, fiction or non-fiction, is growth.

However, there are some really great books out there; here are some of my favorites. And in the words of the great LaVar Burton of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Reading Rainbow:  “But don’t just take my word for it.”

Strange Piece of Paradise by Terri Jentz

 

 

Animal, Vegetable, MIracle by Barbara Kingsolver

Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls

Feel free to suggest your own faves!

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2 Responses to Memoirs and My Love-Hate Relationship With Them

  1. Anonymous says:

    Did you read Outlander yet?

  2. Felia says:

    No, I am saving it for the plane trip because 1) it is so long, and 2) it is on my nook.

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