Friday, August 1, 2008

Memoir -vs- Anti-memoir

I spent the better part of this past week reading two very compelling memoirs. The first was a slash and burn take no prisoners account of Marya Hornbacher's 10 year struggle with Anorexia and Bulimia called Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia. Her stories of dieting down to a mere 52 pounds and ignoring all of the humans who wanted to help her was positively gruesome. The pleasure in reading was in the voyeurism of it all. What horrifying act can we watch the author perform this time? How can she further degrade her already abused body? Or better yet--How is it that she is so different than me?

It left me feeling sort of sick--the literary equivalent of watching the ambulance race up to a bad car wreck. In fact, many memoirs leave me with that same feeling: I read this because these true stories of other people's lives are so hideous and chilling that I can't help but look and read.

I did stumble across another memoir this week and the author--the child of a celebrity has chosen to call it an anti-memoir. I suppose because it is not really about an awful life. I am not reading it becuase it is horrifying and over the top, I am reading it because it is well written and actually this man could be like me or any one of my friends. He has normal friends and small problems and he writes about them with sincerity and pathos and they are interspersed with his tales of growing up with a celebrity dad. I am surprised at how much good writing and real life tales actually are more enjoyable than the terrifying ones.

This is not a daddy dearest tell all, this is not stories of his horrible addictions or wanton life. This is just a dad who has written an anti-memoir. A story for the rest of us.

So please go to the library and check out: My Incredibly Wonderful, Miserable Life: an anti-memoir by Adam Nimoy (that's right, Mr. Spock's son)

1 comment:

Steph said...

Oh, cool! I love Mr. Spock! It makes me wonder if his son resembles him, tho I can only picture him with Vulcan ears. :-) I have been enjoying Mma Ramotswe.