Why I love Memoirs

Obviously, I love to read, and I hope that all of you, whether you are a writer or not, because you follow this blog, share my feelings towards books.  There is one particular genre of books that has recently struck me in its importance, and I would like to share a few reasons why.

That genre is Memoirs, and here are a few examples as to why they should be given more time in the spotlight.

  1. They tell the real story.  I love historical fiction as much as the next person, but no matter how much research is done, it will still never compare to having the physical experience.  Memoirs are told my people who physically experienced history whether in a large way or in their own small impact, and there is no way to compare to the experience we are given to be able to read a real life story.
  2. More times than not, Memoirs are told very straightforwardly. Because, again they actually experienced it, the author of a memoir does not have to “dress anything up” for the reader because he knows the precise words needed to describe his past situation.
  3. They are relate-able. I am not saying one cannot relate to a fictional character, I relate to them all the time, but it is much easier to relate to a real person who has gone through life, and is completely human with all his realistic faults and virtues than it is to relate to a fictional character created by an author for a specific purpose.
  4. They are not meant to be monumental. People who write memoirs do not do so with the hope of it being made into a giant movie, or for billions of people to be forever impacted by it.  They write memoirs so that hopefully at least one person will read their story and understand they are not alone.
  5.  To write a good memoir, one must be humble.  If an author is going to write an honest memoir, he will include all of his failings, and most memoirs have this.  When a reader finishes a memoir, he/ she does not usually have the opinion that the person they read about was a perfect angel, rather they feel relieved and inspired because someone just as human and imperfect as them managed to do some good things.

Here is a memoir that I am currently reading and would recommend everyone do so: Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt


2 thoughts on “Why I love Memoirs

  1. I just realized as I was reading this–perhaps the best memoirs of all are the four gospel accounts. They fit all the categories you mentioned, especially revealing the author’s faults–a testament to their reliability.


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