The Author Through the Looking Glass: Feelings of Fiction in Memoir

Memoirs allow a degree of creative freedom that is not as pervasive in the more formal styles like biography or autobiography. While this can result in a more interesting and accessible book there are also narrative choices that make memoirs harder to connect with as something ‘true’. In the iconic book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance Robert Pirsig speaks of his past self as an entirely separate person, his experiences seeming like a kind of fiction to both the primary narrator and the reader. Much more recently (and with mixed reviews) Confessions of a Sociopath by M.E. Thomas the author intentionally anonymized herself, making it difficult to attach her life to the idea of a real person. These narrative choices that are allowable in memoir can make these books far more compelling to read but they also have the tendency to move the books towards fiction in the mind of the reader.Read More »