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Unreliable Truth Paperback – 23 May 2003
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Psychologist and bestselling author Maureen Murdock's fascinating exploration of memory and identity, and an exacting look at how memoir is crafted
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Her prose is straightforward and accessible and her short descriptions of published books point readers to a wide variety of example memoirs they might wish to explore. Her writing instructions at the end of the book are geared towards beginners, encouraging them to engage in first exploits and then providing suggestions for how to deepen the work. There are plenty of books out there that provide more depth in writing instruction, but her weaving of personal anecdote, excerpts from the literature, and reflections on the writing process make for an easy and interesting read.
I found the book extremely accessible yet academic in tone at the same time. In writing about memoirs, she draws examples from many published memoirs, including those by such authors as Frank McCourt, Amy Tan, and Ruth Riechl. Rather than being didactic, she encourages contemplation and experimentation. She draws a clear distinction between autobiographical and memoir writing, noting that the genre of autobiography is "a recounting of linear events from birth to death", but that of memoir, "a selected aspect of a life." She provides very useful advice about how to choose stories with universal themes and fill them with sensory details. The book is geared towards assisting those who would like to engage in the writing of memoirs as a process of self-discovery or spiritual search.
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