There’s a lot to criticize in the memoir genre, but for a willfully naïve moment, let’s commend the dual courage to write a book about one’s past. The first courage is obvious: You have to reveal your secrets. The second is faith in your narrative.
We all have fun anecdotes about running into someone on the train or falling in love, but most of life doesn’t fit into a storyline. It’s easy to criticize “characters” from memoirs as flat, but in real life, a lot of people are flat. The honest and successful memoirist has to overcome the narrative failings of existence. This memoirist also has to have an incredible amount faith in her story—that the details of her life can also be symbols and that frankly, that her time has been interesting.