Category Archives: Memoir Monday

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Feminism in Cold Storage

I absolutely loved this memoir written in poetry when I had first read it and wanted to remind everyone of it for this year’s National Poetry Month! I don’t know what you’re reading this April but I highly recommend brown girl dreaming if you haven’t read it yet!

Review:Brown Girl Dreaming - Jacqueline WoodsonI’ve read a lot of memoirs, but none that were done as a series of poems before. It really is a beautiful way to convey your story. My favorite was the first one, about the day she was born.

Woodson brings her birth together with the state of black in America and it’s done masterfully.

I’m not sure how many people can do memoir in this fashion, but this does a better job of explanation some things about the Civil Rights era than almost everything I had to memorize in school. It gives the feeling in the South of black child…

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Recording Your Memories

Writer's Block No More

Try This Technique

By Annette Rey

For the third time in less than a year, a person close to me has died. This has left me feeling fate knocking at my door. For protection from these outer influences I crawl into my writer’s hole and find memoir to be the perfect subject to contemplate.

Take a peek…

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Not Exactly Love: A Memoir by Betty Hafner

GoodReads For Women

Alt=Not Exactly Love: A Memoir by Betty Hafner

It was 1969, and all the rules were changing, when Betty, a woefully single French teacher on Long Island, met the handsome but edgy new teacher at her school, a hippie just back from Woodstock. His vitality opened up a new world to her—but when they married, his rages turned against her, and often ended with physical violence. Like millions of women who discover they’ve married an abusive man, Betty was forced to make daily decisions—to suppress her feelings or risk confrontation, to keep it secret or report, and ultimately, to live with it or leave.

Part memoir, part warm-hearted look at the ’70s, and part therapeutic journey, Not Exactly Love: A Memoir is an intense and inspirational story of a woman who grew from her experience

Review:

It’s 1969, on Long Island, NY, unmarried and single French teacher, Betty, meets a…

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South African Roots and Apartheid’s Influence, with a Sense of Humor

What's Nonfiction?

Book review: Born a Crime, by Trevor Noah

Where most children are proof of their parents’ love, I was the proof of their criminality.

Apartheid is one of those subjects that I know embarrassingly little about beyond the basics. If you’re in the same position, I highly recommend comedian and Daily Show host Trevor Noah’s 2016 memoir, Born a Crime, of his unique experience growing up as mixed-race in apartheid-era South Africa. Noah was born to a South African Xhosa mother and a white Swiss father. His very existence was a serious crime under the laws of apartheid, under which both sexual and romantic relationships between blacks and whites was penalized criminally.

Apartheid was a police state, a system of surveillance and laws designed to keep black people under total control. A full compendium of those laws would run more than three thousand pages and weigh approximately ten pounds…

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Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (YA)

SKB'S BOOK NOOK

Brown Girl Dreaming

Brown Girl Dreaming has become one of my favourite books of all time!

The memoir centers around Jacqueline Woodson’s early life growing up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s in the United States. Written in verse form, Woodson shares her experiences of being born in Ohio, and growing up between South Carolina and Brooklyn, New York, and trying to find her identity and place in the world. Each page is a short poem about an experience from her life or the history of her family or the events that were occurring at that moment in time. The poems are simple, emotionally charged, and beautiful. This is not a difficult read at all.

The reason this novel has become a favourite is because there are aspects of Woodson’s life that I can relate to, especially the struggle to fit into two places that she calls home…

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Words Matter and Tone Counts

Word choice is everything.

Heuristics, Humor & a Heretic

3

My uncle was a well-respected Principal of a College who had some serious differences on matters of Principle with the Correspondent of the College.  As a result he had been removed from his post illegally by the afore mentioned gentleman (to use a polite term, my family had more choice names for him).  We were at lunch as a family and like good tam-brams sitting on the floor and eating our sambar, vegetable and rice while my uncle was venting like billy yo. The incident was a new piece of perfidy perpetrated by this gentleman and my uncle was holding forth on the specific and special qualities of his favorite nemesis. To some diatribe of my uncle’s against the venerable party of the other part, I unthinkingly responded “I suppose you are right”. This was my fancy way of saying I agreed with him. But I was taken aback when…

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This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare

thenovelgirlreads

This is just my face coverAuthor: Gabourey Sidibe

Genre: Memoir

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Pages: 256

 

Gabourey Sidibe got her big break starring in the title role as Precious in the film Precious, based on the novel Push by Sapphire. Since then, she has gone on to several other roles on television shows such as American Horror Story, and most recently, Empire. She certainly didn’t start out as a star, though. Gabby, as she is known to her fans, came from humble beginnings in Brooklyn. The daughter of a polygamous, African immigrant father and a mother who began as a teacher (and then went on to support her children by becoming a subway singer), Gabby sis not exactly have it easy growing up. Once on her own, it was not exactly any easier. Case in point: When she was discovered, Gabby was working at a phone sex talking company.

This memoir…

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Writing a memoir: what are the benefits?

Lyn Alderson

woman-41201_1280Should you write a memoir, and what are the benefits of such a project?

I’ve been thinking this through while ghost writing two very different memoirs for ladies who both have fascinating stories.

These women are inspirational characters who have given a lot to other people, and they both have great insights: the world needs to hear what they have to say.

So think about whether you have a great story that will benefit others when they read it. You don’t need to be famous or wealthy, although you might be. But you do need an eventful life story, one that involves overcoming challenges, or triumphing over adversity.

The best and the worst memoirs

In the best memoirs I’ve read, people have reflected on- and owned up to- their mistakes as human beings and found a positive way forward despite what life has thrown at them. The worst memoirs are the…

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Puzzles, Writing and the Human Mind

Pearl S. Buck Writing Center

By Anne K. Kaler

Puzzle DoneIt is finished. The puzzle, that is. The writing is never finished.

The writing is truly never finished, never polished enough, never edited sufficiently because the story never fully ends in my mind. The characters and events continue to exist in my internal universe. I am never satisfied because I feel as if I have abandoned my created children on an alien planet without a working spaceship.

That’s why I do puzzles when I write. I need the constant encouragement that there is an end in sight — that there actually is a last puzzle piece to plunk into place, the only place in the material universe that it will fit.

So why do I persist in both endeavors?

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