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When I read in Harry Crews’s A Childhood how that backwoods Georgia boy made up stories about models in the Sears catalog, I identified with it wholesale, even though I grew up far from the savage poverty Crews lays out:“Nearly everybody I knew had something missing, a finger cut off, a toe split, an eye clouded with blindness from a glancing fence staple….I knew that under those [Sears models’] fancy clothes, there had to be swellings and boils of one kind or another because there was no other way to live in the world.”Anybody would twig to some universal truth about the childhood Crews describes here, I think.INTRODUCTIONThe Family Sideshow When I set out on a book tour to promote the memoir about my less than perfect Texas clan, I did so with soul-sucking dread.
Named one of the 50 best memoirs of the past 50 years by The New York Times "Wickedly funny and always movingly illuminating, thanks to kick-ass storytelling and a poet's ear." The New York Times bestselling, hilarious tale of Mary Karr's hardscrabble Texas childhood that calls the best memoir of a generation.
The Liars' Club took the world by storm and raised the art of the memoir to an entirely new level, bringing about a dramatic revival of the form.
There the author steals her Chinese mother’s method of “talking-story” to meld her own somewhat conflicting Chinese and American selves.
Still, we presume that the truth’s skeleton underlay Hong Kingston’s tale.
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We all lose our innocence in part by coming to marvel at the rift between one’s private life —family fights, say —and the glossy families sold by the media.
Crews’s voice conjures that innocence for us, the time when a family universe was still so colossal that you could project that reality onto the lives of strangers.
My high school history text cheerfully described the westward migration without a glance at the native peoples whose bones got plowed under in the process.
Gass also praised fiction for veracity because it doesn’t announce itself as true.