On Memoirs

I’ve just realized something recently. I have no idea what a memoir is. I’d been told previously that it’s a mix of fact and fiction. But not much more.

So I looked it up. The actual definition doesn’t help one bit. It sounds exactly like an autobiography to me. But it’s called something different. Someone enlighten me. Seriously. I don’t currently have any idea what differentiates the two.

What the heck is a memoir?

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8 thoughts on “On Memoirs

  1. I always thought an autobiography was straight forward facts and a memoir employs a little fiction to make things sound just a little better or just a little more sexy or just a little more…

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  2. Memoirs deal with a certain event in the author’s life, while an autobiography chronicles the person’s entire life up to the point of publication.
    Both are considered creative non-fiction and the terms are often used interchangeably, but it really has more to do with timelines. Memoirs are supposed to have a shorter timeline, while autobiographies have no end to their timelines.

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  3. A memoir focuses on a specific set of events in the authors life, and not necessarily their whole life. Also if an author wants to change the name of people and places to protect other people’s privacy then they would write a memoir rather than an autobiography. And it’s because in such that they can change the names causes some to consider it a mix of fact and fiction, as well as it’s more of their feelings and impressions rather than the focus of what literally happened.

    I just read recently Karma Deception and Two Red Ferraris by Elaine Taylor, and it’s a memoir focusing on what led her to her current husband. And so while we get snippets of her childhood, career, and past lovers, it mainly focuses on the guy she dated right before she met her husband. It reads like a romance novel in some ways, and she believes in the supernatural and so she talks about feeling the presence of ghosts and help from a psychic, because that’s how she remembers it and what she felt. You don’t really get a factual description of events, instead it’s much more story like.

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