"In the 1960s, Jerry Waxler, along with millions of his peers, attempted to find truth by rebelling against everything. After a lifetime of learning about himself and the world, he now finds himself in the middle of another social revolution. In the twenty-first century, increasing numbers of us are searching for truth by finding our stories.
In Memoir Revolution, Waxler shows how memoirs link us to the ancient, pervasive system of thought called The Story. By translating our lives into this form, we reveal the meaning and purpose that eludes us when we view ourselves through the lens of memory. And when we share these stories, we create mutual understanding, as well.
By exploring the cultural roots of this literary trend, based on an extensive list of memoirs and other book, Waxler makes the Memoir Revolution seem like an inevitable answer to questions about our psychological, social and spiritual well-being."
Many of you know I enjoy doing book reviews for other authors. There is a double positive to doing this. First and foremost, it helps promotes another author's books, website, services, and social media personas. The bonus, if you do a book review as part of a blog tour, like this one, my blog is also highlighted by the author as a "reviewer", possibly reaching a new reader and sharing a little hope to a new audience. Today's review was a book I was interested in reading because Jerry Waxler writes about memoir writing.
If you have read my book, Where's Heidi? One Sister's Journey, then you understand why reading books to improve my memoir writing skills is enjoyable and necessary to continue to improve my craft, the craft of writing. I read Memoir Revolution for this blog/book review. When I visited Jerry's site to include links for all of you, I learned he has other books available and blogs about memoir writing. I am excited to look further into Jerry's resources and learning more from him.
While Jerry has "how-to" books for memoir writing, I found Memoir Revolution: Write Your Story, Change the World, to be more encouraging and inspirational for the memoir writer. Early in the book, Jerry writes, "Now, I see the signs of a new set of momentous changes taking place. I keep reading more books about the literature and psychology of personal storytelling, and meet more people who feel passionate about sharing their life story. I believe that all the forces are in place for an exciting shift in our attitude about individuality. The self that was falling apart in the twentieth century is due for a renaissance in the twenty first. It's difficult to understand the whole story-arc while we're in the middle of it, but in forty years, I believe people will look back on this and think, "That's a really good story."
In addition to talking about the personal connection and importance of writing your story, Jerry spends a lot of time sharing hundreds of different memoirs he's read over the years. I found this very interesting and my "to-read-list" has grown. One lesson I learned at my first writers' conference was to read books in the genre you plan to write. I've read memoirs, biographies, and autobiographies since I was a little girl, never expecting one day I'd write my one. As much much as I enjoy these types of books, Jerry introduced me to SO MANY more - it is wonderful. He shares the title and then some of the details about the book. He wrote one book to encourage and inspire memoir writers and spotlighting many more.
Jerry writes, "Through this healing perspective, I could see more clearly what Tobias Wolff had given me. Instead of cowering in the face of his memories, he turned a curious, storytelling eye toward them. By revealing his adolescence as a stage in the whole human drama, Wolff showed me and others that you can transform unpleasant emotions from isolating events into stories that bind us...The goal of reproducing the past is not simply to return to it, but to bring it out of hiding and share it. By allowing readers to accompany us, we can again see ourselves, but this time we begin to see ourselves through other eyes."
This is a book I've added to my, "to buy" list so I can add it to my resource shelf in my office. Jerry sent me a PDF version to read for the review and I've read and reread different portions of the book since getting it. One of my favorite aspects of this book, he lists all the memoirs he mentioned in the book at the end of the book. Of course I didn't find it until I finished reading but now I have a list at my finger tips when looking for a new memoir to read.
If you write memoir, have ever thought about writing your memoir, or enjoy reading memoirs - check out Jerry's book. It's a book written for writers and readers alike - looking to learn more about ourselves and others. Thank you Jerry and WOW for letting me join this Blog-Book tour.
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Jerry Waxler teaches memoir writing at Northampton Community College, Bethlehem, PA, online, & around the country. His Memory Writers Network blog offers hundreds of essays, reviews, and interviews about reading and writing memoirs. He is on the board of the Philadelphia Writer's Conference and National Association of Memoir Writers and holds a BA in Physics and an MS in Counseling Psychology.