Memoir and Fiction

I don't write memoir. It's always seemed to me like inviting 2,000 of your closest friends over to watch you perform brain surgery on yourself. Ill-advised and voyeuristic in a Tobe-Hooperish way.

Mary Karr has an interesting piece in today's NY Times (use BugMeNot to avoid the registration garbage). Karr says, resonably, that yes, memories are problematic, but that's not an excuse to just make stuff up. She gives an example of how her memories of conflict with her father turned out very self-serving compared to the facts.

So I wonder if Mr. Frey hasn't broken more than the contract with the reader. Given the intimacy of all writing, and the particular intimacy of writing memoir, I wonder if Mr. Frey hasn't managed to plant the seed of corruption right in the very heart of himself.


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