Memoirs, biographies and non-fiction, oh my.

Autobiographies, biographies, unauthorized biographies, memoirs.  There’s nothing more the public likes that to read about other’s secrets.  Especially if the others in question are rich and famous.   I’m old enough to remember when then Ronald and Nancy Reagan’s son wrote a “tell-all” book about his life and his parents. Which was shocking.  What was even more shocking was the book came out in the last term of Reagan’s presidency.

While some memoirs are business related or memories of a political rise, I read Howard Schultz’s biography “Onward” in 2011 and was fascinated by it.  That was, of course, before the current controversy over Starbucks and their workers.  For the time, discovering how the company was created was an interesting read.  Especially for a person who didn’t usually read non-fiction. 

My ambivalent feelings towards non-fiction books have probably led me not to read what I’m sure many would say were more than a few interesting books.  Just typing in memoirs into Google pulls up an article of “41 Memoirs everyone should read” from December of 2022. The article covers some of the most profound and funny books, from Sarah Broom, a woman who grew up during Hurricane Katrina, Southern novelist Lee Smith’s story of her childhood, and Cecily Tyson to name of a few.  And, of course, included in this list are two of the most talked about and anticipated memoirs that came out in 2022/2023, the memoir of Jeanette McCurdy and the memoir of Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex.

Like I said above, I don’t usually read non-fiction or memoirs, but this year was the year I picked up both on audiobook. I’m not going to review either of these books because, honestly, reviewing someone’s memories of their life sounds a little harsh.  Fiction is one thing, non-fiction, is quite another.  I mean, nobody wants to read about how I was riveted to a Freakonomics.  A book that I was going to read just for the name but ended up not.  I think I picked it up and flipped through a chapter, but it wasn’t for me.

That’s why I’m talking about them here.  I’ll admit, I haven’t started Harry’s book yet.  I just finished Jeanette McCurdy’s book “I’m Glad My Mom Died” and I need some time to decompress.  I’m reading a romance now as a palate cleanser. Despite the controversy about the book and the books title when it first came out, all I’ll say is this. My daughter grew up during the i-Carly phase, my nieces grew up during the short-lived Sam and Cat phase.  I’m glad McCurdy’s mom died too. 

Memoirs are a way to purge for the authors.  They have words that need to be said, need to be heard.  They have stories that most people would boggle their minds at but for the author, it was their life. It’s not for us to tell them that their lived experiences are wrong.  We are outsiders looking in.  It is for us, as the reader, to see that not all lives that we think are bright and fun, are.  It’s for us, as the reader, to find inspiration in the author’s stories. To experience, second hand, what they experienced.  To be lifted up or horrified at actions and experiences that happened to them. To find amazement in the simple fact that they are still alive to write their memoirs.

            A friend of mine is writing his memoirs and honestly, his life is a huge roller coaster that has us constantly holding on to our seat.  When he ever publishes it, I’ll write about it.  Not review it, because it just can’t be reviewed, but definitely write about it.

Most people, if you sit and listen to them, have stories that are sometimes beyond belief.  And that’s what we want to read about.  It’s what connects us.  As I grow older, maybe I need to start reading more memoirs.  More non-fiction books.  Equal out my literary palate.  Got any suggestions?

Thanks for reading my friends and I’ll see you next week when I review “A Lady for A Duke” by Alexis Hall.  A book I read in 2022 but forgot to review.    Oops.

As always friends, get yourself something to drink and curl up with a good book.

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