Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Not Again

I was afraid of this when I read the review in the New York Times.

Gang Memoir, Turning Page, is Pure Fiction.

The article also links to the original NYT review, and another story about the author.


Blogger Rachel said...

I never understand this. Why not just write a novel and call it a novel? Obviously the story itself had some merit. Why try to pass it off as your own? Ugh.

11:15 AM  
Blogger Brent Goodman said...

Boooo! I agree with Rachel.

Paul Guest is going to put the cred back in memoirs. I can't wait to read his.

1:27 PM  
Blogger david dodd lee said...

I've never read a memoir OR
any kind of TRUE story I believed
was not a work of the imagination,
and therefore, in large part, factually false. What is it with the obsession WE have with "True Story"? I must admit I haven't picked up a memoir anyway in over 20 years. (Biography, sure--I love 'em, but memoir, naw) Fred Exley's project was the last memoir I probably read, and he called his trilogy
a "Fictional Memoir." I think all these BREAKING news stories about
authors lying are hilarious.
Like everything else in this country we pin a high monetary value on the gritty memoir
such that, for some, the only way
into the market is to fabricate
the "truth." What seems deplorable to me is how shocked everyone constantly acts when this happens. I'll take the "Imagination" over "this really
happened to me!!" any day . . .
But what's so shocking? We use
temptation--fame and riches--to those willing to spill those
beans and then pull this holier than thou crap when a few of them are found out. I think it's just plain lousy. The media and publishing industry should get
a slap in the face as well . . .
Btw., it was good to see you last week, Greg . . .

4:51 PM  
Blogger Hannah said...

If it was entirely made up, and if it was that good, why did she have to bill it as a memoir? It's so stupid. Just call it a novel. So stupid.

8:56 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

I do get David's point, too, though. Memoir is kind of a shaky genre, by the very nature of depending so much on memory. I guess I just think like Hannah thinks...it's a good story, call it a good story and move on.

9:37 AM  
Blogger greg rappleye said...


Well, I agree with David on this point: Let's call most everything a "meditation" or a "fictional memoir," or a "false memoir" (ala Jim Harrison's "Wolf") and be honest.

The problem I have with this one is that the writer was so insistent upon her truthfulness and authenticity. Not that it much matters to me, but it obviously does to the marketplace.

9:56 AM  
Blogger Steven D. Schroeder said...

I agree with David's sentiments, but from a different perspective. I dislike reading anything billed as "true memoir" because the dialogue tends to be so obviously fake (come on, you really remember what you said 20 years ago, and it sounded like written dialogue and not like actual unedited verbal words?) that it stops me from enjoying or believing anything else, no matter how accurate and interesting it may be. If I read the same thing as a novel, I'd be fine with it, though novels need to be more tightly written than most of the memoirs I've encountered.

1:58 AM  
Blogger david dodd lee said...

That dialogue aspect has always
been HUGELY problematic--
true is true. Or is it something else?? I cannot recall
verbatim what I said an hour ago, much less what I was hearing
when I was a youthful "gang member"
or "abuse victim" etc. . .

3:18 PM  

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