Sunday, November 16, 2008

Memoir Juggling

I got a notice from the public library that a book I ordered was in.

So, like I do several times a day, I scribbled a note to remind myself to pick it up.

This is what I wrote:

It says: pick up Loose Girl at CPL.

After I read what I'd written, I put "Loose Girl" in quotes in case I got in an accident on the way to the library and the note was found on my body. I don't want to give the coroner the impression that I troll the public library for women.

Loose Girl is a memoir about a promiscuous teenager who was in high school about the same time I was, in the 1980's. While she was having lots of sex, and not particularly enjoying it, I was having absolutely no sex (with other people), and also not particularly enjoying it. So it's nice to see all the different ways people can not enjoy their teenage experience.

It's one of three memoirs I'm reading right now. I have one on my night table for bedtime reading, one that I read during breakfast and lunch, and one that I'm listening to during my commute. The other two are Running With Scissors, about a boy whose mother had him live with her psychiatrist's crazy family, and Failure, which recounts an entire life in terms of its failures. It's a good book to read while going through a divorce.

As you can probably guess, I love memoirs. It's not only the kind of writing I like to do myself, but I'm also really interested in people's stories. I don't much care for people, but I love their stories.

The challenge to reading three memoirs at once is that I often mix up the stories. Which one had the distant, alcoholic dad? Which one had the crazy mother who abandoned them? (Oh, wait, I think they all did.) Whose mother was the poet? Which one snacked on dog food? Which one tried to be gay but couldn't do it? Which one stole cocaine from their dad's dresser?

Mixing all of these stories up makes for one huge-ass amazing tale of dysfunction.

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