I hate to admit this, but between my different email accounts, twittering, blogging, commenting on other blogs, weekly newsletter and book research, I have little time for reading. If I’m going to read, it has to be a book that really catches my attention.
I’m reading such a book now -- a memoir called The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. It came out in 2005 and was a New York Times Bestseller. I can see why so many people read it. It’s very good.
While the story is captivating, what hooked me was a light bulb flashing in my head: this is the way to write a memoir. Admittedly, I don’t read many memoirs. I tend to pick up mysteries or suspense.
The Glass Castle starts off with three pages in the “present,” then goes back to the beginning, when she was a child.
Nowhere does she say anything like, I had a crappy childhood. She tells you her life from the child’s point of view. She doesn’t use childish words, but she pulls you in so that you experience her life with her. She doesn’t have to say, my childhood sucked or was raw. She, in fact, felt her life was normal, even happy. You’re reading about it and you know she got a bad deal. But she doesn’t say that because at the time, she didn’t know that, so she tells you how she experienced it as a child.
Once I started The Glass Castle, I thought to myself, If I ever write a memoir, this is how I would do it. Not telling the reader about your life, but letting them live it with you.
What are you reading? What do you think of it? Are you learning anything? What draws you in to the book or to that genre?
4 months ago