Friday, February 13, 2015
While preparing for the class, I discovered these words by a reviewer of our chosen book—words that epitomize everything I strongly believe memoir is not.
Memoirs are endeavors wherein the author says to the reader: "Here's what happened to me." The authorial motive, more often than not, is a combination of the memoirist's need to get something off his or her chest (or out of his or her gut), along with the need to tell everybody: "This is how I became the person I've become."
Here's what happened to me. Getting something off one's chest. Here is how I became me. Those are slight and merely autobiographical objectives, reflecting a writer interested in one soul thing—himself. Memoirists need to do far more, and the best of them do. Here, in my review of Alexandra Fuller's new Leaving Before the Rains Come, I think again out loud about what real memoir is.