Monday, July 11, 2011

Family, Refracted

"Imagine ten siblings, born at one-year intervals, each of whom, on his or her thirtieth birthday, writes a memoir about growing up.  Reading those ten memoirs, we would find agreement, in general, only on the barest facts.  Everything else—pecking-order differences, stronger and weaker egos, parental favoritism—would be subject to individual perspective, in part because each kid had fought hard to be heard or had wilted in the competition.  Which book is true?  All are true and none is truer, though each of the ten writers would defend his or her truth forever.  Who can say what the family's story is?  I've never heard of a single-family bevy of memoirs.  Rather, there's usually only one author in the clan.  He or she is situationally selected as the most observant one in the group—I'm afraid that's been my lot—who, though she is crowned, can never really be the family spokesman."

— Thomas Larson, The Memoir And The Memoirist: Reading & Writing Personal Narrative

Photo of hands making a house via 123RF.

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