These days, it seems that everyone and their pet snake has a memoir. The category is jam packed with offerings that range from the sublime (beautifully written literary narratives) to the ridiculous (vapid celebrity p.r. releases masquerading as books), as Sharon discusses below. So, I don’t know how to feel about the news that the great Barbra Streisand has a memoir in the works. On the one hand, the woman’s had a fascinating life and career and if she chose to write about it candidly (and has an accomplished ghost writer helping her) it could be great. On the other hand, this is the lady who filmed herself through a Vaseline coated lens in The Mirror Has Two Faces. On the other, other hand, even if the book is a panegyric to herself, won’t it still be compelling?
All of this makes me think about memoirs I’d like to read, based on the perhaps misguided idea that these authors would knock my socks off in the way Patti Smith and Keith Richards did with their books. Can you imagine Jack Nicholson reliving his wild days in print? Or Toni Morrison using her prodigious gifts to tell us about her journey from poverty to international acclaim? (In 2012, Morrison scrapped plans for a memoir, claiming her life was not interesting enough…whaaat?) Basically, it’s the people who probably wouldn’t ever write this kind of narrative whose books I would most want to read.
Whose memoir is on your fantasy bedside reading pile?