I never imagined myself writing an autobiography. And unless it’s written by a noteworthy author, I generally don’t even like reading contemporary memoirs. Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love was trite and pretentious. And my scathing review of Jeannette Walls’ The Glass Castle, prompted a personal response from Jeannette in which she said, “so what if parts of it aren’t exactly true… it helped a lot of people.” And what is the cliche about that what’s-his-name Frey book? A Million Little Pieces turned out to be a million little lies.
Writing Your Life is not about writing a get-rich-quick sensationalized drama based on something that might have really happened in your life. It is an aid to help adults document their life with the hope of eventually handing a manuscript down to younger members of their family as you would a family scrap book or photo album. So I am urging anyone who ever thought about documenting their entire life or writing a memoir to read Writing Your Life. Mary Borg began teaching a writing class for senior adults twenty-three years ago. This book is a culmination of her experience.
The book is broken down into chapters covering ancestors, early years, teen years, school days, and adult life. Mary Borg also advises it is not necessary to write chronologically. She suggests using a topical approach, or simply documenting the highs and lows of your life, or writing about the most memorable days of your life.
She gives tips on getting started, staying motivated, researching facts on given years, websites to research genealogy, keeping everything organized, rewriting and editing, and printing. Included are techniques to jog your memory, and hundreds of questions to ask yourself. Amusing things like,”who taught you how to tie your shoes?” (Pg. 47) and “what is the quirkiest aspect of the home in which you raised your family? (Pg. 94). And introspective things like, “What are five things you’ve done that no one would look at you and imagine you’ve done?” (Pg. 111) and “In what period of your life were you most content, happy, and at peace with yourself and your surroundings?” (Pg. 144)
The book is loaded with samples of other people’s writing, quotes from famous people, and reading suggestions that will enhance the writing experience. Writing You Life is quite inspirational. I am not sure of ever succeeding in writing my autobiography but I’ve already made a list of friends who would appreciate receiving this book as a gift.
Rated 5 Stars.
I use a rating scale of 1 to 5. Books rated 1, I seldom finish. Books rated 2, I usually finish but would never recommend to anyone. 5 is the highest rating.