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Lying: A Metaphorical Memoir Paperback – 1 Oct 2001
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"Like Oliver Sacks . . . Ms. Slater writes about her patients with enormous compassion and insight. . . . A revealing memoir and thoughtful meditation on the therapeutic process itself . . . powerful."
---The New York Times, about Welcome to My Country
---Los Angeles Times Book Review, about Welcome to My Country "With the playful mind of a philosopher and the exquisite, unique voice of a poet, Slater renders a self-portrait that challenges our understanding of illness and health--and illuminates both."
---The Washington Post Book World, about Prozac Diary
About the Author
A 1999 National Magazine Award nominee, Lauren Slater has a masters degree in psychology from Harvard University and a doctorate from Boston University. Her work was chosen for the Best American Essays/Most Notable Essays volumes of 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, and 1999. Her previous book, Lying, was chosen by Entertainment Weekly as one of the top ten nonfiction books of 2000. Slater lives with her family in Massachusetts.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Slater's style is experimental and effective. The first chapter is a single sentence: "I exaggerate." She chose to include letters and medical reports along with the narrative, giving us a look at her as perceived by others in her life. In this writing itself, Lying is effective in its use of imagery to pull in the reader, and Slater's writing and identity are persuasive and compelling. A scene standing out in my mind was her watching people on the bus. When they got up, she "sat in their seats and felt the way the foam cushions had molded to their specific shapes", she smelled an old man's hat and "studied the hair carefully . . . two silver strands of hair, with a masculine smell." Slater's ears pop and she feels cool air coming in through the bus window, and in this moment we are Lauren. She is honest about things that someone would not necessarily permit herself to be honest about. For instance, the contemplation about stealing babies, lying about having cancer, and having "an immediate affinity for [the penis]."
It does not matter so much if Slater's memoir is the truth in its entirety. It is her truth. We have been introduced to her life and her character. From what she has presented to us as readers, we are able to use this to interpret who she is. She states that she has given us her essence. Perhaps in a way, the candid admission that this memoir consists of lies makes her more honest than memoirists that embellish their truths (for instance, could Conroy truly have remember every intimate detail and conversation in "Stop-Time"?). Slater urges that the metaphors she uses "resonate in a heartfelt place we cannot dismiss", and that is the goal of her postmodern memoir. Truth can be complex, and Slater masterfully explores this idea.
This book is engaging and undoubtedly one of my favorite memoirs.
The reader also gets an education about epilepsy, Munchausen syndrome and Alcoholics Anonymous.