Saturday, August 4, 2012


Once in a great while I read a book so spectacular it ruins the next few for me. That's what happened with "The Glass Castle," by Jeannette Walls, which was so good I accidentally typed in "" on my first attempt to find its Amazon link.

Although there are some memoirs I like, I have a history of failing to finish them, but this was definitely an exception. As soon as I read the last page I wanted to start again at the beginning. I didn't, but it's our September book club pick, and I probably will then. I had never heard of it before it came up in book club, but I'm so glad it came across my path, and I cannot recommend it highly enough. Buy it, don't borrow.

I have a couple of issues with most memoirs, one of which is that they bore me (they usually seem a little self-indulgent and overdramatic) and another of which is that I don't fully believe them. People went all crazy on James Frey with his "A Million Little Pieces," which I see is now being promoted as a "semi-fictional memoir," but apparently have no problem believing that Frank McCourt's recollection of dozens or hundreds of conversations and events dating back half a century, as recorded in "Angela's Ashes," is essentially accurate.

I doubt it. It seems to me that "semi-fictional" is implicit in "memoir." However, I know my memory is worse than most: It's a rare book or movie that I can recall in ANY detail a few months after finishing it, and I couldn't perfectly recreate a conversation I had five minutes ago. I have brought this up with a couple of friends and one of them claims she can recall entire conversations from years ago. I can't imagine how this is true, but she's credible, so it made me wonder. She credits (?) her ADD with her detailed memory.

Memory, of course, is only part of the problem. The truth of a person's past is inevitably blurred by his or her biases, misperceptions, motives and wishful thinking.

That's all I have to say about that. We're off to the outlets and then a late dinner -- likely back at Georgio's. Don't hate.

1 comment:

  1. The Glass Castle is my favorite memoir ever. I grew up in southern West virginia and have been to Welch many times. It was neat to read and remember land marks.