Vern's Verbal Vibe

Singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist and purveyor of folk 'n' roll: spirit-filled sad songs made better.

March 05, 2008

Bogus Memoirs

Yet another first-time author has couched fiction in the guise of memoir. Must be an epidemic, 'cause here's one more. These cavalier idiots give true (ahem) memoirists a bad name.

I happened to hear a hour-long phone-in on the topic this morning. The NPR host—who had himself been duped by Ms. Jones/Seltzer only last week—was justifiably embarrassed and irate. I do, however, worry that we're about to see a kind of fundamentalism creep into memoir, a journalistic assumption that every detail, unless independently corroborated, must be false.

Given that readers (and worse, agents and publishers) may now perceive memoirist as a synonym for liar, I'm working on a disclaimer for my book. I aim to briefly address concerns about veracity while claiming the memoirist's rightful place in the pantheon of storytellers. We'll see how it goes.

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