The Shocking Truth about the Memoir

I’m starting a new weekend series called Scenes From My Memoir. Do I actually have a memoir, and I’m offering you snippets?

No. Not Yet.

My husband had this idea originally. He wanted me to start a blog where I tell the world about all of my crazy weird stories from my childhood, my dad’s fertilizer slinging and tractor-business running days, his extended family, my incredibly weird hometown in Texas, etc. Basically, he wanted me to make him laugh only with the internet involved. We have a very simple marriage. He brings home the bacon. I cook the bacon and make him laugh. Also wash the clothes.

I liked the idea of writing down all of my childhood stories; however, I also wanted to start a blog about books and reading and writing. How could I merge the two?


The memoir.


The memoir is a complicated genre (If you are interested in researching it, start here). It’s not fiction. It’s not really fact either. It’s memory. And, if you’ve tried to record things from your life, you might notice, memory can be fuzzy and fickle.

An author takes a story from real life (sometimes not), maybe taking some literary license in the process – compressing events, adding dialogue that’s not verbatim, omitting other events. Sometimes, the memoir gets beefed up for entertainment or shock value or whatever. We readers eat it up.

Then, a journalist finds someone who has another side to the story, claiming the memoir is fictionalized. We, the readers, get really ticked off when we find out the author didn’t give us the whole truth. We watch the author squirm in front of a live, studio audience revealing the made up parts (As a general rule, don’t lie to Oprah or Ira Glass). Of course, then the family member or ex-girlfriend who presented the evidence of the fictionalized memoir writes her own memoir. I have a feeling this ongoing controversy with memoirs and the readers and the publishers does nothing else but sell more books. So, because of all the controversy, the memoir gets a bad rap.

I’ve found some fascinating opinions throughout the internet about the memoir, its importance, its ridiculousness and what we should do about it. For the most part, I think the memoir is a sincere effort by the author to provide a compelling story.

Tomorrow, I will publish the first episode of my exciting new memoir, entitled “Getting Hit by a Car in 5th Grade.” (See what I did there? Exciting, huh? Can’t wait to tune in, can you?)

In the meantime, download one of my favorite memoirs onto your Kindlethis weekend, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: How I Learned to Live a Better Storyby Donald Miller.

  1. #1 by Alison on May 4, 2012 - 3:17 pm

    It will be great to hear them from your point of view.

  2. #2 by kellywiggains on May 4, 2012 - 5:30 pm

    haha. Thanks.

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