Hans Fiene works through the mechanics of an elementary book review on comic Norm MacDonald’s new book, Based On a True Story: A Memoir, which he says is a bit of a challenge.
Don’t get me wrong, Macdonald’s first foray into the literary realm has many book-like features. It has pages with words on them. It has a dust jacket with the title on the front and endorsements on the back. It generally abides by the rules of English grammar . . . But in substance Based on a True Story is not a book.
. . .
Despite being labeled “a memoir,” Macdonald has no interest in writing a genuine account of his life’s events or allowing the reader to get near him. Rather, he’s firmly committed to amusing himself by irritating you into fits of guffaws.
Paul Pastor reviews Walter Wangerin’s memoir, Everlasting in the Past.
The contemporary Christian memoir has behind it a richly populated tradition of self-reflection: Augustine’s Confessions, Julian of Norwich’s Showings, Therese of Lisieux’s Story of a Soul, C. S. Lewis’s Surprised by Joy, Madeleine L’Engle’s A Circle of Quiet, and countless other narratives that use personal experience and devotion to point to a larger Christian path.
[Wangerin’s] prose is miniaturized, fitted like clock parts, each sentence turning the next. Just when you think you are witnessing an over-written sentence, he expertly surprises you. The book is paradoxically both spare and extravagant, and it will not be to everyone’s taste. It’s high craft, but he avoids pretense, and it works, as Dun Cow did. It’s distilled, dense. Delicate. I love it.
“Here we take fairy tales, magic tales, and wonder tales so seriously. This is the land of magic. I think it’s because overall American culture is still able to dream about a better future, to dream that something better is going to come. It’s part of the American DNA.”
Armando Maggi, professor of Italian literature and a scholar of Renaissance culture, says the American memoir is the new fairy tale.
Rod Dreher writes about his hesitation over a potential proposal to work with a man on his memoir.
He had read my 2013 memoir, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, and saw potential for us to collaborate. Knowing Wendell [Pierce]’s formidable reputation as an actor, I was flattered that he had read my book—and humbled that he thought it good enough to consider hiring me to help him write his own. So why my skepticism?
Wendell and I come from the same state and are of the same generation, but we grew up in different worlds. He is a black liberal from the Crescent City; I am a white conservative from the rural hills of West Feliciana Parish. How could we possibly have enough in common to work together?
Dreher’s wife told him that he does work on the book, it’ll be good for him spiritually. Find out what happened with Dreher and Pierce in The American Conservative.
This coming Spring, Rabbit Room Press will release a new memoir from the great author Walter Wangerin, Jr. It will be called Everlasting Is the Past.
“In this new memoir, he invites the reader into the past to experience his loss of faith as a young seminarian, his struggle to find a place for his chosen vocation amid a storm of doubts, and his eventual renewal in the arms of an inner-city church called Grace.”
Pre-orders are being taken.