Memoirs are all the rage. Have you noticed? Everywhere you look whether it's television or book store or you hear it on the radio someone is writing their story. What's that all about?
I'm not much of a memoir reader, unfortunately. This is going to sound mean, but frankly, I don't care. Reading used to be about escaping from the realities of life, but maybe now it's about "look at that guy. His life is way worse than mine. Phew!" (Wiping of brow.)
Don't get me wrong, some memoirs are beautifully written. Angela's Ashes is one of them. Frank McCourt is a master at prose, but many times I thought, all right already, I get it. Your childhood sucked. What I really wanted to know was how he got out of the situation. What's the solution? I didn't need four hundred pages of repetition. Maybe I need the Cliff Note version of memoirs? Does Cliff still exist?
And let me ask you this: How do these authors of their memories remember in such vivid detail what happened at the age of four? I don't have memories like that, but of course I wasn't trying to boil hot dogs at the stove because no one would feed me and hence catching my tu-tu on fire. I might have remembered that one.
Why are we reading memoirs? Mainly because they sell. Who doesn't want to walk into the book store and be met by the faces of their favorite celebrities screaming, "pick me, pick me?" Except me.
Or are memoirs being read because the people just want to know? They want a glimpse into the lives of others or maybe to know there is someone just like them going through what they did. Are memoirs becoming some version of the modern day support group?
Memoirs are here to stay. Like it or not. And as long as everyone is reading something does it really matter what it is? What matters is you've connected with a book, curled up in your favorite chair to bend back the binding and fell in love with the story. To that I raise my glass.
What type of books are you reading?