This recent article in the NY Times seems to take exception with glut of memoirs produced by
"ordinary" people. In the past, William Grimes laments, the memoir was a genre reserved for the likes of Ulysses S. Grant. Now anyone with a migraine headache or a history of lifelong obesity can join statesmen and celebrities on the shelves and talk show circuits. It seems that no subject is too mundane for literary examination. Drank too much in college? Let's hear about it. Just got your AARP card in the mail? Whoa--you just qualified as an expert on the trials of middle age.
My first impulse is to applaud this rather democratic trend. Hell, who says Ulysses S. Grant or Bill Clinton or Goldie Hawn can tell a better story than the self-described Fat Girl? And if they can, let them prove it by competing for readers like every other writer has to do in this absurdly competitive market. How many times have we heard of celebrities (or pseudo celebrities like Monica Lewinsky or Amber Frey) receiving obscene sums to recount through a ghostwriter the repetitive travails of life in the fast lane. I, for one, would rather read an honest and original account of middle age or anorexia or a headache that lasts a week than sink my teeth into yet another self-serving celebrity memoir.
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