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It is the story that is important

October 16, 2013

I will start with a confession I don’t usually read memoir or autobiographies but in the last month I’ve purchased two. Ugly: My memoir written by Queensland author Robert Hoge and Caitlin Moran’s How to be a woman. I bought Hoge’s book after watching an episode of the ABC series, Australian Story where Hoge, his friends and family talked about his life. Quite simply I wanted to know more. Whereas Caitlin Moran a journalist from the UK, is roll on the floor, laugh out loud hilarious. I’ve been reading a collection of her column pieces recommended by a friend which led me to her memoir. She cracks me up.

I prefer fiction where authors often draw on their own life and experiences to write characters whose life parallels with their own, like the wonderful book The Whole of my world written by Melbourne author Nicole Hayes. It’s about a footy obsessed teenaged girl coming to terms with grief.

One of the reasons I have started reading memoir is to be inspired and hopefully learn something along the way about life, the universe and everything.

Memoir like fiction allows you to walk in the shoes of another person for a while whether it is someone like Hoge who in his own words belongs to the ugly club or someone else who inspires you or whose experiences resonate with you in some way.

If like me you’ve been reluctant to read memoir and autobiographies you might be pleasantly surprised. The interesting thing about memoir is that the authors can also be unreliable like characters in fiction. The best selling work Running with scissors written by Augusten Burroughs has been openly criticised by the family Burroughs was sent to live with as a teenager. Who do you believe the author or the family? It is up to the reader to decide.

With memoir like any other genre it’s about how well the author tells the story.

Kim Tairi

October 2013

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