Telling It True | Memoir

Bulletproof Vest

Since the stories we tell about ourselves become the blueprints for the myths about us, let’s be careful out there, memoirists. You define the story.

New Year, New Stories | Memoir

eve

For five of this month’s six authors, this is a second or third memoir. What motivates this sharing of the good, the bad, and the ugly of life?

Fun, Functional, and Dysfunctional Family Stories | Memoir

date

This month, our memoirists spent time trying to figure out how to form—or stay part of—a family.

Keeping Score | Memoir

mermaid

Fall approaches. The boys of summer are winding it all down on the diamond and the gridiron guys are gearing up. Since my sport is reading, I’ve tallied up the major themes and attributes of this month’s six memoirs. Here are the scores: family stories six/six; tales of resilience six/six; woman memoirists five/six; damages of […]

Behind Closed Doors on Long Island | Memoir

Bough Down

Dylan told us all that “everything is gonna be diff’rent when I paint my masterpiece.” The belief that things could be different, even if they weren’t going to be perfect, carried many of this month’s memoirists through very trying times. Masterpieces are not always on canvas: here we glimpse families, houses, and careers that are themselves real works of art.

Memoir Is Storytelling | Memoir

Double Double

Last month I found something in blogland that summed up the ideal of memoir writing so elegantly that I have to get out of the way and let Dani Shapiro—whose memoir Devotion you should all run out and read right now—do the talking. What is the job of the memoirist? Is it to tell all? […]

Lost Halves, Lost Houses, and Lost Homes | Memoir Short Takes

Her

It’s a big world, and the number of stories out there reflects its immensity. This month’s memoirs contain tales of young lives formed and spent in places like the Hudson Valley, Chicago, Oakland, Louisiana, and Utah (with stints in Africa, Venice, and Antarctica). Was geography destiny for our memoirists? Does where you come from matter as […]

Memoir Short Takes: Food, Drink, and DNA

Drinking with Men

The first few weeks of a new year make for a good time to review the work this column does. Reviewing memoir is tricky stuff, and a review is not a referendum on the writer’s life. A loathsome life story beautifully told? Great. A life of virtue predictably related? Nope. Like I’ve said before: it’s […]

Best Books 2012: Memoir

La Petite112612

Busch, Benjamin. Dust to Dust. Ecco: HarperCollins. ISBN 9780062014849. $25.95; eISBN  9780062096784. Busch addresses the sustaining value of art in the face of life and death from the perspective of one who has been to war. (LJ 3/1/12) Cusk, Rachel. Aftermath: On Marriage and Separation. Farrar. ISBN 9780374102135. $23; eISBN 9781466820180. This memoir is full of […]

Memoir Short Takes: What Happened?

It can take a long time to answer a simple question: What happened? Good memoir writing takes facts and makes sense of them; great memoir writing takes emotions and does the same. This month’s memoirs all take a hard look back at events that begged for explanation. Was the process therapeutic for the writers? Perhaps. […]

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