Memoir is an exploding category. More and more, people want to read real-life stories that bear witness to the poignancy, pain, and unexpected joy of life. Curiously, despite the popularity of the genre, memoir does not have its own category on bookstore shelves. Why not?
The first person “I” is a natural point of view for memoir and personal essays. But writers take a risk in using “I” – the risk of making themselves vulnerable and exposing something about themselves that readers won’t like. As an editor of memoir, there have been times when I thought the first-person narrator was a little self-absorbed, judgmental, or stuck in a refrain of blame. I feel that it’s part of my role to gently ask the author about their intentions in telling the story this way and to talk about possible consequences for their relationships. These conversations led me to ponder the risks and rewards of writing in the first person. What qualities endear me to a first-person narrator?
BOOK REVIEW: Between You & Me, by Mary Norris
Should it be “short, balding man” or “short balding man”? “Bad hair day” or “bad-hair day”? Mary Norris, a copy editor at The New Yorker for over thirty years, relishes these sorts of editorial decisions.
Editing books is the best job in the world. I'm always learning new stuff! In this blog, I review books and share my thoughts on writing and editing. I hope you share some stuff, too.