• What Makes a Really Good Memoir?
What Makes a Really Good Memoir?
Written by
October 2018
Written by
October 2018

Really good memoirs, really good books for that matter, are first and foremost engaging. From the first page to the last page readers are hard pressed to close the book.  And once we finish reading the story, we don't forget it.

Alyse Myers' memoir, 'Who Do You Think You Are?' had one of the best openings. She began her memoir prompting readers to guess what secret of her mother’s was in this box. I had my doubts about the book, wheeled in unwittingly, hoping sooner rather than later, she’d tell us.

But she didn’t. Meanwhile her story got more intriguing and better every page. Without spoiling the story for those who have not read it, I no longer remember what was in the box, (revealed towards the end) because the real secret was spelled out in the story. Now, that's a really good book!
Great memoirs tell one cohesive story, usually narrated in a humorous manner. Using this approach engages readers, allowing us to fold into the story, rather than marry (or divorce) the memoirist (or central character). We think, without being told what to think. And we emerge from the story more empathetic (not sympathetic), enlightened and entertained all in one.

This post comes from a prolific memoir reader.


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