Monday, May 22, 2006

Believing the (somewhat) Unbelievable

I'm having trouble with a book I'm reading. It's a memoir of a woman who led a very, very peculiar childhood with very, very wacko parents. I like memoirs, really I do. But, with every one that I've read I've always found it hard to believe the level the recognition these authors have for their past. I mean, I remember things from my childhood...but I'd be really hard-pressed to remember an exact event and especially the conversation I had during said event when I was say....4 years old. How is it that these authors can fill pages and pages documenting countless conversations and situations from their earliest years? I don't remember being 3 and 4, or 5, 6, get the idea. I can pick out an occasional birthday party that held significance or an adventure that went afoul. I can remember a small snippit of a fit or two I might have thrown when I was in the early years of primary school. But, even that is challenging and requires a bit of backtracking. I guess what is bugging me about this book is how much recollection she has from the earliest years of her life and how little I have from mine. My first inclination is to doubt half of what is in this book, because I just cannot believe she remembers so damn much. Maybe I'm annoyed because I don't. Anyway, I never read the book A Million Little Pieces and I think that my mind is still on that scandal, which is making me skeptical of all books that fall into that category. I want to believe her story, mostly because I don't want to be cynical of anyone who feels the need to share their story. I love to read about real people and their lives and the types of obstacles they've overcome. I like reading about people who have been delt a crappy hand early in life and have not allowed their dysfunctional past to keep them from a functional future.

So, I guess the only option is to keep reading the book and will myself to believe her story (hook, line and sinker) and then count my blessings that I did not lead her life. Maybe that is the moral. It does not matter if the story is real or slightly embellished, the point is to help the reader appreciate what they have (as long as it's better than the authors). Image

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