The Magic in Memoir

Why has memoir taken a sudden resurgence and the seemingly forgotten genre is now flooding the bookshelves? What could make a person’s truth so compelling that readers would choose memoir over mystery or fantasy?

Coming from the Latin word for “memory,” memoir is a sneaky little genre that skips past its boring sisters “biography” or “autobiography” but doesn’t quite meet up with adventurous fiction. Memoir is truth according to one person and isn’t based on lengthy research.

Memoir, in fact, can cut quite deep.

Kimberly Patton
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Why has memoir taken a sudden resurgence and the seemingly forgotten genre is now flooding the bookshelves? What could make a person’s truth so compelling that readers would choose memoir over mystery or fantasy?

Coming from the Latin word for “memory,” memoir is a sneaky little genre that skips past its boring sisters “biography” or “autobiography” but doesn’t quite meet up with adventurous fiction. Memoir is truth according to one person and isn’t based on lengthy research.

Memoir, in fact, can cut quite deep.

It is the truth according to one person. One memory. Personal thoughts. Powerful emotions. 

Memoir is a beautiful genre, a profound revealing of the soul. The vulnerability of the author draws readers to peek into a window to the heart. Readers relish the opportunity to see how somebody else is figuring out how they fit into this world.

Curiosity in a fiction book sometimes looks like, “What happens next?” Readers turn pages quickly based on plot and action-packed scenes.

A memoir book could suck you into the action, but more than likely you will become highly invested in the character of the narrator. You may not question “What happens next?” as much as you say, “The writer’s voice is carrying me and something deeper compels me to keep reading.” Memoir is real life, and often very raw.

The author has spent hours pulling on threads from their past, sometimes their childhood. The unraveled stories spilled on the page can be breathtaking.

As I read, I am respecting the author’s time and effort to delve into their past and face it head-on. Digging deep is no small feat. The author has done real soul work and has invited me into the pain and victories of their past. 

If you are reading memoir, be prepared to enter the inner-workings of the author’s heart.  Memoirists are on a mission to untangle memories to make connections with who they were and who they have become today. You get to join their journey.

Are you bold enough to read it?

If you are writing memoir, be prepared to come face-to-face with your past and the memories that make you laugh and make you cry. Be ready to wrestle with those memories and don’t expect the journey to be too short.

Are you bold enough to write it?

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