Sunday, May 1, 2011

You Know What ‘Memoir’ Means, Right?

So there’s another hoopla over a memoir that isn’t entirely truthful, this time THREE CUPS OF TEA, about a man who built schools after being lost in Pakistan. Yeah…not true []. Although I suppose he can get away with it since he doesn’t actually have “Memoir” on the front. 

Because—correct me if I’m wrong—but isn’t a memoir supposed to be factual? Why are people making up stories like this and marketing them as truth? The LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE book series didn’t market itself as truth, but as fact based. MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA let everyone know upfront that it was a novel, not a memoir. Isn’t that enough?

Apparently not. True, the story of building schools after being rescued by Pakistani villagers loses its punch when you learn most of these schools don’t exist. But how can you go around acting like it’s true when it’s so easy to do a Google search and find out it’s a lie?

Of course, it did take five years for people to figure it out…


  1. Mr. Mortenson's having himself the start of a very bad month, no doubt...

  2. This is very sad. I haven't read the book, but my mom has and when I told her about it possibly not being true she was so disappointed...

  3. This is a big boo (not to you, to the book). If you want to write fiction, write it, for goodness sake - no need to pretend. (also, not to you, Jemi).

  4. I've said it before about James Frey and Margaret Seltzer and I'll say it again now: just don't say it's true! Just make it a novel!!! Gah!!

  5. I wondered what the snarky comments about Three Cups of Tea were all about. I hadn't bothered to look too hard to find out, though.


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