Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Book Chat: Memoirs & Autobiographies

While I'm more of a narrative nonfiction (also called "creative nonfiction") type of girl, I have read a memoir or two in my day. The first memoir that jumped to mind when I saw this week's prompt was Lucky.

Let me just preface this by saying I loved The Lovely Bones. If you didn't like that book, you definitely won't like this one. I know a lot of people who didn't enjoy The Lovely Bones because of its tragic, sometimes graphic material. If you're one of those, remember The Lovely Bones is fiction, but Lucky is the true story of Alice Sebold's rape. It's heartbreaking and haunting, and I seriously considered cutting my hair after reading this book because in one scene, Alice says she thinks she might have escaped if her attacker hadn't grabbed her ponytail.

Now, I'm going to completely switch tactics before you get too depressed and share one memoir I didn't expect to like but was pleasantly surprised by:

Bossypants, as you probably know, is Tina Fey's memoir, and she is just as funny on paper as she is on screen. The only change I would have made is that I wish I had heard the audiobook version instead. I've heard that Tina reads it herself and is hilarious. (By the way, the only reason I didn't expect to like this book is because I typically don't read books by celebrities, especially memoirs. I'm just not that interested in their lives.)

One last memoir I want to mention is The Glass Castle. Unlike everyone else in the world, however, I did not like this book. It just did absolutely nothing for me. I didn't identify with Jeannette Walls and the book wasn't what I expected. I don't think there was anything specific that made me dislike the book; I simply didn't enjoy reading it. (And now I'm worried about how many other bloggers probably said they loved this book in the link-up.... Whoops! Sorry.)

Speaking of the link-up, I'm sure I'll think of plenty more memoirs to add after I read the other posts, but here are the top five memoirs on my to-read list right now:

My magazine writing professor in college also wrote a few memoirs, so I think it would be really interesting to read one of hers someday.

Also, one last note: After reading Three Cups of Deceit last week (see my full review here), I don't know if I can ever trust a memoir again. Or at least a memoir that paints someone as charitable and entices people to donate money to their cause. Anyone who has read (or even heard of) Three Cups of Tea or Stones into Schools should go get this book from the library right now. It's only 77 pages, so you'll be done soon!

Do you like memoirs? What about autobiographies? Check out the other posts on this topic here:



Jessica Bucher said...

The Glass Castle was definitely the most mentioned book this week, but I have never been drawn to it personally. I can't read the tragic stuff. I know it would probably interest me, but I get down to easily. It comes with motherhood I think.

I have Bossypants on audiobook. I think I just need to listen to it already.

Thanks for linking up this week! Your review of Three Cups of Deceit inspired my post. :)

Unknown said...

I just picked up The Glass Castle at the thrift store here for less than $1. I honestly had no idea what it was about but knew I'd heard of a lot of people reading it so I grabbed it :P

Mia @ The Chronicles of Chaos said...

I have sadly never read anything by Joan Didion, but I've heard so many great things. I need to get on it!!! :)

Gypsi said...

I've been reluctant to try the Glass Castle, myself, but have wanted to read Lucky. I should move that forward in my pile!

As for Three Cups of Deceit, don't forget that Krakour has an agenda just as much as Mortensen. It's best to read all such exposes with the same skepticism one reads memoirs. :)

Anonymous said...

I have Tina Fey's book on my to-read shelf. I started the audiobook on a road trip a couple of years ago, but I really can't get into audiobooks at all.

Anonymous said...

I loved the Lovely Bones and her other book sounds interesting.

Anonymous said...

I liked The Glass Castle because it wasn't what I expected. I was floored by the end of it and found her tragically fascinating. I haven't heard of Lucky, I'm adding it to my read list.